FJL: Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience on the FJL program
IK: I grew up in Manchester in the UK, and attended the University of Cambridge where I read Land Economy which is a combination of law, economics and the environment. In my spare time, I coordinated various charity efforts including a charity fashion show, a charity ball and a series of events for Jewish students and Israel. I participated in the FJL USA Summer Internship programme in 2015 where I worked at an energy efficiency start-up, Sealed. During my time there, I gained valuable professional experience as well as exposure to client interaction and the sustainability industry. Although the internship did not inspire my future career, the experience shaped by university dissertation which focused on the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
FJL: What keeps you busy these days?
IK: After graduating from University, I spent two years on the Teach First programme, teaching Maths to secondary school pupils in London's third poorest borough and acting as Head of Year 8. I work as an Associate Consultant for Teneo UK, a strategy consultancy firm that is active in a variety of sectors. In my 'free time', I serve as the chair of the young professional committee for UJIA as well as representing them on the Board of Deputies for British Jews. Recent events include a fundraising campaign for educational projects in Northern Israel which brought in over £18,000, and a Purim party that was attended by more than 500 young professionals and raised £15,000.
FJL: Can you tell us more about the Friday Night Network?
IK: The network ("FNN"), founded in 2018 by fellow FJL alumnus James Fox and I, aims to put Friday night meals back into the centre of young Jewish life in London. We’ve recognised that young professionals often move to the capital and don’t necessarily have somewhere to go for Friday night dinner. It can be both expensive and time-consuming to host themselves. To overcome these barriers and encourage shabbat hosting, we deliver discounted ready-made Shabbat meals with tables, chairs, hot plates and urns if necessary.
In reality, we all probably have at least one hour a week we could designate to something bigger than ourselves. If we did, the world would be that bit better.
FJL: What has been the biggest roadbloack in founding this amazing initiative?
IK: It definitely has to be forming a committee. Often people sign up to things for the sake of their resumes without fully investing in the project. It can be challenging to motivate them to follow through on their commitment and chasing committee members frequently takes up much of my time. It is often far quicker for me to just do it myself but that defeats the purpose of having a committee. Having said that, when you find people who are enthusiastic and creative, it is really rewarding to share a project with them and we can achieve some amazing things together.
FJL: What leadership message would you share with your fellow millenials?
IK: The importance of giving. It doesn’t necessarily need to be money but we all have something unique that we can use to help others. The world would be a far better place if we all just gave a little bit more whether it’s money, time, knowledge, or love. Often we get so wrapped up in our own lives and we think we’re so busy. In reality, we all probably have at least one hour a week we could designate to something bigger than ourselves. If we did, the world would be that bit better.