UNDER CONSTRUCTIONThe Young Professionals Division is currently undergoing an exciting relaunch initiative! Stay tuned and check this page for updates.
Our New Mission
Build and sustain an inspired, thriving community of Jewishly engaged young adults who are empowered and committed to leadership, philanthropy, outreach, and inclusion.
What is the Young Adult Relaunch Initiative?
In conjunction with the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ new Strategic Plan, Community Impact facilitated a collaboration with the Community Engagement and Development departments to assess our role in young adult engagement. The Young Adult Engagement Task Force was formed and began working in December 2017, and concluded with a proposed strategy in May 2018. The Task Force engaged in the following design-thinking inspired process:
Gained empathy and inspiration
- Reviewed data and identified community successes, challenges, and gaps. Data came from the 2014 St. Louis Jewish Community Study and a 2016 St. Louis Jewish young adult survey.
- Learned from task force member experiences.
- Developed an asset map.
Ideate and prototype
- Determined the role and value of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis in providing services to the Jewish young adult community in St. Louis.
- Brainstormed “how might we” serve in the role and provide value to young adults and the Jewish community.
- Prototyped and tested ideas; this included the implementation of three focus groups to share ideas and hear feedback from constituents.
Developed a plan to best support the proposed role and value
- Assessed the feedback from the focus groups and developed a plan of action to relaunch the young adult program with a new look, focus, and mission.
- Created a new lay structure that seeks to train, inspire, and engage young Jewish leaders in the community. This Young Adult Initiative will be a prestigious opportunity for young adults to enhance their leadership skills and make real impact in the St. Louis Jewish community.
Our New Pillars
To fulfill our new mission, the Young Adult Engagement Task Force built a strategy with four distinct, and often overlapping, areas of work:
Work with other young adult organizations to plan community-wide/collaborative events, develop diverse programming to fill identified gaps in the community, and create inclusive opportunities for individuals to explore their Jewish identity.
Ensure that all programming is welcoming and inclusive, increase the breadth and depth of young adults’ social networks, and work with a team of program ambassadors to help connect young adults to each other.
Develop low-barrier programming based on young adult interest, empower a sense of ownership in the success of the community, enhance leadership skills, and recruit participants to serve in leadership roles in the Jewish community.
Facilitate the process of determining targeted campaigns, work on partnership programming with existing affinity groups, show the value of giving to Jewish organizations, and weave the Jewish Federation of St. Louis into all young adult programming.
Meet the Communications Task Force
Once our new mission and focus areas were set, we selected a group of nine professionals for our Communications Task Force. The individuals live in the St. Louis community and have a strong background in marketing, public relations, communications, or design. This diverse team leading the relaunch initiative will help determine the future of YPD in terms of design, messaging, and overall brand.
Andy Babitz was born and raised in St. Louis. He attended Mizzou where he received a double major in Political Science and History, and then went on to graduate from University of Missouri – Kansas City Law School. He is married to Diana Babitz, a first grade teacher at McKelvey, and they have two children – daughter Emily (4) and son Eli (2). Andy practiced law in St. Louis for nine years before switching careers. He recently partnered with his brother Danny as a financial advisor. Andy is Vice President of United Hebrew, a 2014 Millstone Fellow, and a 2015 Wexner Fellow. He’s excited to be on the task force because the organization has a special place in his heart – he met his wife at the OY Vegas event in 2011. He believes that the future of the St. Louis Jewish community is at stake and we must create a viable, thriving community of young leaders. He is encouraged by the amazing group of people he has worked with and looks forward to the end product of their hard work.
Shira Berkowitz is a St. Louis native and lifelong active participant in the Jewish community. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and is an actively exhibiting artist and designer. She is presently the Communications Manager at PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy and education organization, and an Adjunct Professor in art history and design at St. Louis Community College. Shira is a founding board member of MaTovu, an inclusive Jewish neighborhood center in St. Louis City; Q Jews, a social and educational organization; and Citizen Artist STL, an artist’s advocacy collective. As a human-centered visual designer, Shira is excited to see YPD rebrand and evolve as an organization.
Amy Bornstein has been working in the Jewish community for almost five years and living in St. Louis for over eight years. She initially moved to St. Louis to do Public Relations for Build-A-Bear Workshop. Following a move to the non-profit sector, Amy spent four years at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. In May 2018, Amy became the Director of Literary and Jewish Arts at the J, primarily in charge of managing the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, now in its 40th year. Amy is a founding board member of Nerot, the Young Women’s Division of Nishmah, and spends time working with the Human Rights Campaign in St. Louis. Amy is excited to combine her passions of community work and marketing, and see how this dynamic group will help shape the future of the young adult community.
Zach is a professional photographer and entrepreneur. Most recently, he’s been growing my photo/video business, Zach Dalin Photography, which specializes in weddings, mitzvahs, portraits, and commercial photography. He is excited to be on the task force because it is very important for young adults to have a place where they can be Jewish and be with other like-minded Jewish young adults. Federation has always provided some of the highest-attended young adult programs for Jewish professionals over the last few years, and with the new branding and initiatives, this will absolutely continue for many years to come.
Evan Glantz is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He works for the St. Louis Regional Freightway, a business enterprise of Bi-State Development focused on enhancing the region’s standing as a premier national and global freight hub. He is a graduate of the 2017-2018 Millstone Fellows Class and is taking part in the inaugural ACCESS Leadership cohort. Evan is excited to be a part of this task force because of the opportunity to develop a new vision for the organization that can impact a wide range of people within the Jewish community.
Samantha (Sam) is the Digital Communications Specialist for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. She has worked in the Jewish community for five years, beginning in 2014 with Federation as a Resource Assistant for the Development and Marketing departments. In 2015, she was promoted to the Marketing Coordinator position, and in 2018 was promoted to her current position. She feels very lucky to work for such a great organization full of talented, dedicated, and friendly people. Sam graduated in 2012 from DePauw University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications & Performing Arts. She is excited to be part of a team that will help lead our young adult community into the future!
Becca is the Young Adult Engagement Coordinator for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and a St. Louis native. Becca has been involved in the Jewish community since she was born by attending The J’s Early Childcare Center, Camp Sabra, Epstein Hebrew Academy, and participating in youth groups such as NCSY. Becca is excited to be leading this task force because the young adult community means so much to her. Becca wants to help shape the community that will affect generations to come!
Laura was born and raised in St. Louis. She attended Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising Design. For the past seven years, she has worked as an Art Director specializing in corporate and internal communications. Laura has actively participated in YPD events since graduating college and is excited to bring her diverse and creative talents to the task force. Laura looks forward to helping develop a strong, focused, and unified organization to ensure equal and plentiful opportunities for the young professional Jewish community in her hometown.
Jason is a graphic designer from Cincinnati, currently residing in St. Louis. He studied design at the Warren County Career Center and Eastern Michigan University. While in college, he spent time designing page layouts and illustrations for the campus newspaper and other school organizations. After graduation, he worked for great institutions such as the Ken Garff Automotive Group, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and currently works as a Graphic Design Specialist at Spire Energy.
Alison Wittels is a first year Master of Social Work student at Washington University in St. Louis. With a BA in History from Tulane University, Alison spent five years working in Public Relations and Communications. Alison is excited to be part of the task force to share her opinions and make a difference.