Recipe for Success – Young Leadership Event

Last month, over twenty young women gathered together at the Sephardic Community Center’s kitchen to cook with chef extraordinaire Claudia Bildirici. As we enjoyed rice paper veggie wraps, white arugula pizza, kale salad with fixings, potato crusted lemon sole, we discussed professional goals.  The group was comprised of driven young women pursuing careers in occupational therapy, psychology, physical therapy, education, art management, nutrition, digital media and marketing, among many other careers. Several of the attendees are currently in college and some of the women disclosed working in several positions, including as an event planner, a volleyball coach and a clothing designer. 

Claudia Bildirici is the founder of Claudia at Home and for the past two years has been working with Zami Caterers in creating menus and styling foods by thinking outside the box. Claudia is known for hosting cooking parties for every occasion and bringing food and laughter into our community. She previously ran a company called Lottie Biscotti where she sold her baked goods to stores. She advised the young women at the PROPEL gathering not to be afraid to fail and to follow their instincts in pursuing their professional goals.  (You can follow Claudia on Instagram @Claudiaathome where she shares her recipes and tips.)

“What type of cooking utensil most represents you?” was a question that ignited an interesting discussion at the PROPEL Recipe for Success event.  We talked about the preparation of several recipes as a metaphor for balancing elements in our lives – school, work, family and friends. We acknowledge that balancing requires some planning and talked about making lists to stay organized.

Going around the room, each woman was asked to identify a single talent or quality that she possessed and deemed superior. The responses to this exercise were quite telling and included multi-tasking, organizational skills, community building, and public speaking. 

One attendee stated, “I thought this event was very creative. I liked the cooking portion because it tied everything together and made the night more exciting and appealing rather than just having a discussion. I appreciated that the discussion questions were related to the cooking class and that there was a lot of self-reflection. The night was well planned and it was executed nicely.”

Another attendee left warm-hearted as she remarked, “It is nice to know that there’s a group of likeminded individuals who want to pursue a career while simultaneously up keeping a Jewish home and raising a family. The event made me realize that I am not alone in this pursuit; there are a whole bunch of people who I can relate to, who I can talk to, and who I can gain insight and advice from. That is a comforting feeling.”

While a majority of women graduating from high school in our community are attending college, PROPEL is aware that some of these women need career guidance while they are in college or even after they graduate. PROPEL looks forward to hosting additional events for young women in our community and support them in collaborative efforts to move toward their professional goals. Special thanks to Caroll Dweck, Raquel Shalam and Francine Shamosh for helping to organize and facilitate this wonderful PROPEL event.

By Alissa Shams and Randi Eisenstein


If you are interested in a career, please reach out to PROPEL and we can help you fulfill your professional goal.

PROPEL 646-494-0822 |


Follow PROPEL on Instagram @PropelNetwork to find out information about upcoming PROPEL programs and events.