Yana Drosdovski Hazan

Yana Drozdovski Hazan
MA/MBA ’13

"The most common challenge facing nonprofits in Israel is resource development. The sector is overly saturated and the competition for resourses is immense. The second challenge, I believe, is effective and efficient management. In many cases the organizations are very mission-driven but lack the knowledge and skills needed to improve efficiency and impact. This is where the Hornstein-Heller MA/MBA education and skills can come into play."




Yana's
Short Bio

Yana was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1990 she and her family made Aliyah. She received her bachelor's degree from Ben Gurion University and a dual-degree MA/MBA from the Hornstein Program and The Heller School in 2013. After graduating, she took a position at the Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry (BGI) at Brandeis University as the Program Manager, and then returned to Israel. She now works for Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) as a Senior Program Manager. 

Hornstein Alumni Profile


Yana Drozdovski Hazan
 
on Living and Working
  in Israel  


During her senior year of undergraduate studies at Ben Gurion University, Yana was invited to join a Birthright group of young adults from New York. After spending five days with them in Israel, she became passionate about the Jewish world outside of Israel.

Upon graduation, she spent a year abroad serving, on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), as the Israel Fellow in Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College, New York. This was her first “real job” in the Jewish world, she says. And it was also a turning point.

“I fell in love with my work and realized that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she remembers. “I wanted to continue working in the Jewish world, fostering meaningful connections between the Jewish people and Israel, but I knew there was so much more for me to learn.”

Yana attended the Hornstein Program to begin to fill in the gaps in her education and skills. In 2013 she graduated with an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and an MBA in Nonprofit Management.

She recalls her Hornstein years and especially the Kraft Seminar in Israel: “As an Israeli… it was amazing to experience the Kraft Seminar together with my fellow Hornstein students who challenged me to see things from a completely different perspective and learn so much about my country and the place I call home.

"One of the most meaningful experiences for me was the visit to the YMCA Jerusalem and meeting with the CEO at the time, Forsan Hussein, a Brandeis alumnus from the class of 2000. Hearing him speak was absolutely inspiring and I remember leaving there filled with hope for peace and a better future for all human beings.”

Yana lives in Tel Aviv now and works for the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) as a Senior Program Manager. This private foundation is dedicated to developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide.

She is pictured below with her husband, Tzachi, and their three-year-old son, Eitan. They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their second child, due any day now!

Yana D. and her family

In Her Own Words:
Q&A with Yana Drosdovski Hazan


Tell us about your life (work and family)

Q: Where did you grow up?

Yana: I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In 1990 when I was five, my family (mother, father and twin brother) made Aliyah. I grew up on the Israeli coastal plain, for the first two years in Bat Yam, and afterwards in Holon.

Q: When did you attend Hornstein; and what drew you to Hornstein?

Yana: I attended Hornstein from 2011 to 2013.

After serving for two years in the IDF’s Intelligence forces, I attended Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva where I graduated with a BA in Management and Behavior Science. During my senior year, I was invited to join a Birthright group of young adults from New York and after spending five days with them I became passionate about the Jewish world outside of Israel. Upon graduation, I decided to spend a year abroad serving, on behalf of JAFI, as the Israel Fellow in Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College, New York. This was my first “real job” in the Jewish world. This was also the turning point for me. I fell in love with my work and realized that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to continue working in the Jewish world, fostering meaningful connections between the Jewish people and Israel, but I knew there was so much more for me to learn. When I learned about the Hornstein Program, I could not believe there was such an amazing opportunity that fitted exactly what I was looking for! I had no hesitations that Hornstein was the perfect fit for me!

Q: What did you do following graduation?

Yana: I earned my MBA in Non-Profit Management and MA in Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership in 2013. After graduation I joined the Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry (BGI) at Brandeis University as the Program Manager, responsible for global program design and management of the institute’s educational initiatives. Upon returning to Israel from the United States in 2015, I managed a number of educational projects and initiatives supporting the Russian-Jewish community worldwide.

Q: Where do you work now and what do you do there?

Yana: In November 2016, I joined Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) as a Senior Program Manager. This private foundation is dedicated to developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide. As part of my role, I support the execution of grants under my management, provide content input and support for grants and grantees, and build and maintain partnerships, ensuring synergies and coordination among grantees.

Remembering Hornstein and your Seminar in Israel

Q: Can you share a memory from your Kraft Seminar in Israel while you were at Hornstein?

Yana: As an Israeli, it was very inspiring to learn about the breadth and diversity of the work that is being done here but above all, it was amazing to experience the Kraft Seminar together with my fellow Hornstein students who challenged me to see things from a completely different perspective and learn so much about my country and the place I call home.

One of the most meaningful experiences for me was the visit to the YMCA Jerusalem and meeting with the CEO at the time, Forsan Hussein, a Brandeis alumnus from the class of 2000. Hearing him speak was absolutely inspiring and I remember leaving there filled with hope for peace and a better future for all human beings.

About living and working in Israel

Q: What are your recommendations to Hornstein alumni and community who want to make Aliyah and find work?

Yana: Israel needs young, talented and energetic people to join its realms. There are plenty of opportunities, especially for native English speakers, and it is easy to get lost and confused. My recommendation would be to first understand what is it that YOU want to do professionally and where you’d like to live, and then invest time in researching and fostering the right connections to help meet your goals. Israel is a small country with lots of good people but it is up to you to form the relationships and create a strong network that will provide you the support needed for the beginning of your time here. 

Q: What are the greatest needs facing non-profits in Israel today?

Yana: The most common (and quite obvious) challenge is resource development. The nonprofit sector in Israel is overly saturated and the competition for recourses is immense. The second challenge, I believe, is effective and efficient management. In many cases the organizations are very mission-driven but lack the knowledge and skills needed to improve efficiency and impact. This is where the Heller MBA skills can come into play.

Advice to current students

Q: What words of advice do you have for current Hornstein second-year students who are trying to complete their coursework and also find meaningful employment?

Yana: Coursework is important but do not let yourself drown in it so that you don’t notice the opportunities around you. Before you know it, your time at Hornstein will be over. Try to use the time you have, to open yourself up to new opportunities, create meaningful connections, and learn as much as possible, especially in areas which you consider to be your weakest. This is the time to acquire new skills and knowledge and not only cultivate your strengths. 



This interview with Yana was published in the Hornstein Program's Impact Newsletter, March 2018. If you would like to quote any part of this conversation, please attribute content to the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University and link to this page. All rights reserved.