OyChicago blog

Making the ‘Jump’

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From Fundraising to Finance

My journey as an interfaith leader photo

Seven months ago, I shocked myself and many of my coworkers at the Jewish United Fund; I gave my notice, leaving JUF and YLD for the world of finance. The most common responses I got included “Wow! That’s a big change. Are you qualified? How did you get the job?”   

Let me tell you a little secret: the work of fundraising is not that different than finance. I know, I know … you think I am crazy, so let me explain.  

For years I wanted to explore the financial industry. I loved (and still love) budgeting, statistics, daily news and watching the markets. But when I attended a job fair and had people look at my resume, I was told point blank that I had cornered myself into the Jewish non-profit world.   

Hearing this only made me want to prove to the world – well, really to myself – that I could get a job in finance, but my search ended quickly when I landed an incredible job at JUF. For years I planned programs, raised money and built the community. I loved it, but two things in particular: building the relationships and bringing in the money.

Now here is where it gets interesting, so read carefully. Knowing how to build relationships cannot be taught. You are a good networker, trustworthy, caring, etc. or you are not. Finance can be learned. A person can study options and read about the markets.

I had just cracked the code. I had found my way into finance – relationships! Now, the key was to prove to others that I was not full of B.S. and THAT was not as easy as picking up the phone at a phonathon!

The first thing I had to do was convince myself. After stating over and over again that you can learn finance but not relationships, I started to believe it myself. From there it was using those relationships. It worked. I made the “jump,” which I see more as a skip, and am now a full-time financial professional, building relationships and bringing in money, just like I did at JUF.

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