Top Ten Takeaways From Our Panel


My Mother, My Mentor, My Self

By Raquel Shalam, Life & Career Coach

Presented by SBH Career Division & PROPEL, a panel of three inspiring mother-daughter duos spoke to a crowded audience of enthusiastic women about finding their path. Each of our panelists – Betty and Grace Esses, Claudia and Lottie Bildirici, Linda Benun and Esther Hidary – shared compelling, genuine and even humorous accounts of how they got to where they are today. Each panelist, as well as our brilliant and poised moderator, Sarita Bakst Salama, had priceless advice. Of the many valuable lessons they had to share, here are 10 that really stood out.

1. Even if you have no clue what you’re doing, roll with it as you go.

Learning on the job is absolutely normal. You may not think you know what you’re doing, but as you roll with what tasks need to get done you will certainly find your way.

2. Getting out of your comfort zone is incredibly rewarding!

Our comfort zones often feel like good friends we don’t want to leave behind. Our panelists illuminated all the exciting opportunities they encountered only once they pushed beyond what they were used to.

3. Even if you’re scared, keep going.

Starting something new can be frightening. Know that you are not alone in that fear. It’s okay to be afraid and to do it anyway. As you push forward, the fear subsides.

4. Working gives women a sense of confidence and direction.

As women, we are balancing so many different aspects of our life. We are taking care of our families and playing active roles as community members. Having a career that is uniquely our own allows for self-confidence to develop.

5. It’s important to keep reinventing yourself.

One of our panelists spoke about how important it is to know your limits and see when it’s time to move on. It’s never too late to try something new.

6. It’s invaluable to invest in your education.

One of the reasons education really pays off is because it gives you a profound sense of mastery in your field.

7. We grow up all the time.

Nothing in life is static, especially who we are as people. We are constantly developing even if we don’t see it. There is no limit, age or otherwise, to our growth as individuals.

8. Choose a career path that is an expression of your personal mission and identity.

Several panelists spoke to the value of creating a career around what is important to you and what you are most passionate about.

9. Apply your vast skill set.

In each stage of life, we acquire new skills. Whether it be as students, mothers, wives or during any other role we play, we are building a strong toolbox of skills. Organization, communication and interpersonal skills are some that are extremely applicable to nearly every profession.

10. We have a strong network of working women in the community who are so willing to help each other out.

The event served as a testament to this robust and growing network of women who are giving their time, advice and experience to help each other succeed professionally.

Lastly, but most importantly, we couldn’t be more impressed with the huge crowd of women who came, ready to take on something new and develop a career they feel empowered by and proud of. A very large thank you to Sarita Bakst Salama for sharing her journey and moderating the panel, as well as Frieda Schweky from ​@photos_by_Frieda​ for photographing and the Sephardic Community Center for hosting the event.

Take the next step!
Feeling excited or even intimidated by the prospect of new opportunities? Give PROPEL a call at 646-494-0822 or

Ready to enter the workforce? Contact the SBH Albert J. Sutton & Sam N. Sasson Career Division to learn more about our free computer workshops, resume writing, interview prep, and job opportunities! 718-787-1400 or