It’s Time to Catch the Train

Written by: Leslie Siegel

When asked to introduce herself in a few words, Valerie Kalifa described herself as French and Israeli.

Being born in France, Valerie made Aliyah only four years ago, but Israel has become a critical part of who she is. Valerie found herself in Israel due to her previous position as the marketing director at Wix, and she hasn’t looked back. This position enhanced her entrepreneurship spirit and desire to move in different environments. She went as far as to say Wix was the ticket that encouraged her Aliyah.

Valerie’s previous position as the marketing director at Wix, along with her education at the respected INSEAD business school, has led Valerie to her current prestigious position: Vice President of Marketing at Seeking Alpha. Seeking Alpha is a crowd-sourced content platform that provides insights and actionable ideas for investors whatever their investing objectives are. Joining just three months ago, Valerie is building the marketing team from nothing and created the position she currently holds. Her goals are to drive the strategy, take initiatives to increase the user base and to increase user subscriptions. With her background in finance, analytics, strategy and project management, there is no doubt these goals will be reached. She explained how “each opportunity is like an executive summary of the past and a new opportunity to grow.” Valerie continues to take her past experiences to build on her skill set and move through the fast-paced Israeli environment.

“Each opportunity is like an executive summary of the past and a new opportunity to grow.”

Israel has become the home Valerie has been looking for. Her French identity is a perfect marriage to her new-found Israeli one. She describes the French people as being contemplative and good at thinking, but not moving — that’s where her Israel identity comes in. The Israeli environment encourages acting and doing. As Valerie put it, “You have to catch the train; the train is not waiting for you.” And Israelis are definitely the first ones to catch the train.

Similar to France and other cultures, it is still difficult being a woman in the workforce. Valerie eloquently stated how she does not define herself as the woman in the workforce, but as what she brings to a company. She chooses to focus on her other characteristics, but even if Valerie is thinking in this way, society is not — “there are not enough chairs in the room and women are the last to arrive.” Nobody is waiting for women, but Valerie desires to be a woman people will save a seat for. She believes this will only happen if women strive to dare, ask and do.

Valerie stated her proudest accomplishment to date is her Aliyah. She described it as a rebirth, a time when she came somewhere as nothing; she barely had a network, she was not known, she had to prove herself again. Her Aliyah forced her to reinvent herself but, she expressed how she feels closer to herself than ever before in Israel.

Valerie has learned a lot through the winding track that has brought her to Israel. She shared some of what she has learned along the way:

· Learn a lot, every day. Learning is not about going to school, it’s a daily attitude

· Ask for what you want, people can’t guess

· Make mistakes

· Working is a question of pleasure. At the end of the day you can’t cheat if you don’t like the people or what you do — fight with people you like

Israel is lucky to have gained such an inspirational woman like Valerie. If there is one thing Valerie would share, it is: “you are nothing if you don’t meet people at the right time and the right place.” This statement has confirmed her Aliyah and her successes while in Israel. So, like Valerie, it’s time to catch the train you’ve been waiting for.

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