High school students at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School are learning from some of Baltimore’s best.
Through the student-run Women Who Launched discussion series, the school has hosted Jewish women leaders from the area. Nonprofit foundation executives, lawyers and even a Tony Award-winning producer are booked to speak to high schoolers during their lunch period, talking about their journey to their profession and offering advice.
The series is the brainchild of Noa Rone, a senior at Beth Tfiloh and the co-president of its Stronger Together: Women Empowerment Club. While preparing to apply for colleges, she decided she wanted to hear from female professionals about how they launched their careers and thought that others might benefit from doing the same.
“We have so many amazing powerhouse women in Baltimore,” Rone said. “So, I thought, why not reach out to them? Why not bring them in for everyone in the school to see these women, how they’re living, and learn from their experiences?”
Rone, 18, of Pikesville, belongs to Beth El Congregation. She noted that the Beth Tfiloh administration was in full support of the discussion series, and she had the help of school staff including Eli Creeger, the high school’s director of student life.
Women Who Launched discussions happen on Wednesdays and consist of Rone interviewing the speaker about their experiences as a woman in the workforce and their accomplishments in their profession, followed by a student Q&A. Rone estimated that, so far, more than 50 students have attended each discussion.
“For a school of our size, and at a busy time, those are amazing numbers,” she said.
And it’s not only female students that are attending the discussions.
“Both boys and girls have been coming to the event and in equal numbers, and it’s just amazing to see that it’s not only girls who are interested in seeing what other girls are doing in the world,” Rone noted. “It’s also boys who are there supporting them and wanting to learn from them.”
So far, the school has hosted Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation President and CEO Rachel Garbow Monroe, Chesapeake Partners Management founder Traci Lerner and CHANA Executive Director Lauren Shavitz.
Down the line, RKW Law Group partner Laura Rubinstein and Tony Award-winning theater producer Kathy Levin Shapiro will join the lineup, along with two additional speakers yet to be booked.
“A lot of [the speakers] I know from the community,” Rone said. “I think that’s one of the nicest things about the Baltimore Jewish community, specifically that it’s so tightknit. But they were all happy to take me up on the offer.”
She noted that the Women Empowerment Club at Beth Tfiloh has hosted fundraisers to benefit CHANA’s mission of protecting abuse survivors, which put her in contact with Shavitz, as one example.
Students have asked the women leaders for career advice and their experiences with leadership, pressing subjects for many high school juniors and seniors as they prepare to apply to colleges and determine their career paths. It’s something that Rone is considering herself.
“I hope they learn from these amazing women the tools needed to succeed in the professional world, both as a girl and as a person,” Rone said. “And they hopefully feel inspired and look at these women as someone they can look up to and also look out for in the headlines and in our local community. They’ll be familiar faces whose stories they know, so I’m hoping they’ll give them guidance on how to achieve their dreams.”