Jody Spiegel: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell. 
I’m the Director of the Azrieli Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program. My team gets the inspiring books we publish into the hands of academics, educators and the general public. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route? 
Seven years ago I thought I wanted to help people and I was going to do that in law. I left the legal world for the world of Holocaust memoir publishing and never looked back. If we don’t share these accounts of survival, they will be lost to us forever.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part? 
Trying to touch humanity in people… keeping history relevant to a world looking forward and not wanting to look back.  

What does success look like to you? 
While the Memoirs are part of high school curriculum in pockets across the country and in Nova Scotia, I’d want it to be incorporated into every province’s educational mandate. These are Canadian accounts of bravery, survival and inspiration. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career? 
I had the privilege to co-produce the Azrieli Series of Short Films – intimate profiles of our authors. Sitting down with each author for hours and listening to his or her account of survival for the film made was pretty amazing. They’ve been broadcast across Canada on Shaw/Global, screened in classrooms, and have been picked up by various film festivals, including this year’s edition of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. We are in the process of producing more films due out this fall.  

Do you have any advice for other young professionals? 
Be patient. Be patient with yourself, your goals, with others. Patience is grace. Give yourself the chance to succeed. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you? 
Absolutely. Many. We all depend on eachother. 

Personal philosophy:
“Tzedakah” is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call “charity” in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes. However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity. The word “charity” suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy for the benefit of the needy. The word “tzedakah” is derived from the Hebrew word for justice or fairness. Giving to charity is simply an act of justice, the performance of a duty, making it equal. You need, I have. Here.  It’s not generosity, it’s an obligation.   

Describe your ideal retirement. How old will you be and how do you plan on spending your retirement years? 
I haven’t thought about it. I don’t think I could. I’m a very busy person – two delicious kids, an amazing family, I edit the StyleCulture section of a paper, I write Urbanfrum, a blog with stylist Abby Feferman. But drinks on the beach sounds great too… 

What to you is notable? 
Authenticity, humility, kindness.