Has the College prepared you for your current job?
Sometimes the profession chosen at the beginning turns out to be the right one, and sometimes one boldly dares to choose again. Four Atlantans reflect on the relationship between their youth projects and their current vocations.
Gary Lips, Home Service Provider
I studied Management Information Systems and have a BA in Business. For 14 years, I was a consultant in technology-related roles with large corporations including BellSouth and The Home Depot. I wanted a change in the business environment and spent a year exploring and experiencing different jobs.
One morning I was outside mowing our lawn and I had a revelation. I walked in and told my wife, “I’m running my own business and I know what I’m going to call it, Skeeter Eaters!” Naturally, she was shocked, but we still support each other.
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In 2013, I advertised on Jewish social media, and within months I had a thriving outdoor mosquito control business. Customers started asking for more services and I hired workers. Some of the workers had additional skills and were eager to use their expertise.
My company is now called G.LIPS Home Services; each letter represents a service: gutter and roof cleaning; landscaping; interior and exterior painting; pressure washing, Skeeter Eaters.
When I started this business, I was determined to work hard and be happy. Nothing makes me fall. I like to welcome my clients and create a bright spot in their life.
Rivka Elbein, Acute Care Research Nurse
I always wanted to be a nurse and I was in a Future Nurses Club in high school. I graduated from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in 1980. My first job was in surgical intensive care at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston.
In 1973, after high school in Stratford, Connecticut, I had planned to study nursing at Boston University, but first spent a year in Israel in a youth leadership program. Back home, my BU scholarship had been canceled; therefore, I took pre-nurses at a community college in Bridgeport.
During this time, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and moved to Houston for treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. I enrolled in pre-nursing at the University of Houston in 1975, but I needed to support my mother and myself during her treatments and hospitalization. I took an eight week nursing assistant program and worked in hospitals. When my mother passed away, I attended the University of Houston while working as a nursing assistant.
After we got married in 1980, my husband and I spent a year in Jerusalem, where I worked in a coronary care unit in Shaare Zedek. I have worked in intensive care, home health, [as a] a medical record review nurse, an infection control nurse and a nurse epidemiologist. After having children, I went from hospital shift work to nursing research in Houston, Atlanta, and Dallas. Currently, I am an acute care transplant research nurse [unit] at Emory University.
Levi Siegelman, owner of a moving company
Through the streets of Jerusalem, the eyes of the crowd followed the stick that rose in the air, screaming for joy as I, a lovable 9-year-old “street performer”, caught it in my outstretched hand.
I have always enjoyed learning new things, bringing joy to others and celebrating life. Montessori College offered me a myriad of practical opportunities to develop my business and communication skills. In Yeshiva High School, I was twice the National Wrestling Champion in the Jewish High School. And for my Eagle Scout project, I oversaw the construction of a permanent suspension bridge connecting areas of the Toco Hills community.
I am committed to leaving people with meaningful interactions and positive memories. I notice the good in others and actively engage in great conversations. Without a college degree, I see opportunities everywhere. As an entrepreneur, I am now the proud owner of my own business, Levi’s Neighborhood Movers. I started 3 and a half years ago by moving a single sofa, and now no house is too big. I do long distance moves and am expanding, with the goal of bringing peace of mind at an often stressful time for my clients. We leave our customers with smiles on their faces, and we always have a smile on ours.
Hallie Chasen, real estate agent
I graduated from Stern College, Yeshiva University in New York, majoring in early childhood education. Although I have taught for 13 wonderful and rewarding years, I have been a real estate agent for nine years.
I have always been interested in all kinds of houses. Even after my husband and I bought our first and second homes, I loved visiting the open houses and enjoyed going with friends to see the homes they were considering buying. Sometimes I even helped them negotiate their deals. I realized real estate was interesting and wanted to help people make good decisions about buying or selling a home.
I decided to try to get my real estate license. What started out as a part time hobby has turned into a full time career that I love. It’s always scary to do something new, but I never knew it would work if I hadn’t taken a chance in a profession that’s so different from teaching young children. I have always heard the saying: “nothing has ventured; nothing has won ”, and I am so happy to have followed my dream.