Alumni Spotlight - Hannah Wasserman
Hannah Wasserman is the manager of development at Jewish Family & Child. She’s a married mother of two who lives in Toronto. She attended Hebrew University from 1996 to 1997.
What was your most memorable experience at Hebrew University?
Wow, do I have to come up with just one thing? I don’t know if I can narrow it down — my professors, my friends and my travels. I visited several countries, including Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Kenya. Kenya was amazing. We climbed Mount Kenya, went to a Muslim island during Ramadan and did several other things. One highlight was jogging every day in Jerusalem. That is how I became familiar with the city.
How did your time there make an impact on your development, professionally and/or personally?
I am still friends with people I met at the school, and feel that I will have a lifelong connection to them. On my honeymoon in 2004, I arranged for a tour of the school so that my husband could see it and get a sense of the experience that meant so much to me. Also, my passion for Israel blossomed when I was there. Even now, I’m always looking forward to my next trip back. In October, my husband and I are going back to Israel to participate in Courage in Motion. It’s a bike ride that raises funds for Beit Halochem Centres, which offer rehabilitative and other services for disabled Israeli veterans. As for my career, my experience there made me realize that I need to work in a field that keeps me connected to Israel or to the Jewish community.
How did you get started in your current career?
In 2001, I did a sport event and marketing program at George Brown College in Toronto. I thought sports marketing was the direction I wanted to go in but I ended up in fundraising. I got involved with that at Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, then the UJA. I’m now at Jewish Family & Child.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
While at the UJA I was involved in two wonderful missions to Israel, one of which included Poland. But the highlight came in May with Jewish Folks Telling Jokes, a fundraising event for Jewish Family & Child. It was held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and raised more than $150,000. It started as just a seed of an idea and became an extremely successful fundraiser. Not only did the event raise money, it also raised the profile of the agency.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I don’t want my life to change too much. Balance of career and family is very important to me. I am passionate about my work, and I get to spend plenty of time with my kids, while finding time to do my triathlons.
What are a few of your favourite things, in terms of movies, food, restaurants, vacation destinations, etc.?
I love to travel with my family. I enjoy our time in the Florida Keys. I also love to work out and train. The adrenaline rush of crossing the finish line at a triathlon is unbeatable. My favourite movie is Dirty Dancing. Isn’t it every Jewish girl’s dream to meet someone like Patrick Swayze’s character?