Welcome Sydney Schwartz, the latest member of the Haggadot.com team! We sat down with her to chat about her role as Director of Operations, her passion for strategy, and what she likes most about Jewish life.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what drew you to this work?
I always felt like my work needed to matter, both to myself and the world around me. I wanted to engage with my community and have a positive impact on the world. Having worked for several years as a project manager and operations specialist at various global non-profits, then dabbling in philanthropy, I quickly realized that my passion and my skill set aligned with working at a small (and growing!) non-profit like Haggadot. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of a strong and agile team that feels deeply connected to this work and demonstrates their passion into all aspects of what we do.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
I would describe the Director of Operations role and the way I show up each day as strategic, adaptable, and creative. These traits are at the core of my work as we build out our systems and processes that are thoughtfully and intentionally centered around Custom and Craft’s mission, vision, and values. Tailoring these foundational structures to the changing and evolving needs of our organization is exciting and allows me the space to dream big and outward. There is ample room for playfulness and for trying new things, knowing we have the flexibility to adapt as we grow.
Are there learnings from your previous experience that you’re carrying forward into this work?
One thing that I’m carrying forward is how to find what needs repair or improvement. When someone shows frustration, or when there is an issue with the flow of a process, it doesn’t indicate to me that we can’t move that thing forward; instead it's something that needs to be re-imagined. “Does this fit our needs,” is a question I ask myself and my team frequently. I’ve learned that having these check-ins with individual team members and the group as a whole helps the flow and evolution of the systems in place and can prevent, or at least ease, future hiccups.
I also have to emphasize carrying forward self-confidence and care. While I am definitely my own worst critic, I recognize that it’s just a part of my process, and I know that being confident in my ideas and caring to myself brings balance to my life and work.
What excites you about managing the flow of operations at Haggadot.com, and what are you most looking forward to working on?
Haggadot is a young and innovative organization - with a fantastic team to boot! I’m most excited for the opportunity to build and own systems and policies that will scale, evolve and sustain the organization for years to come. It’s through these foundational structures that a rhythm of how we work is created, and it’s important to me that this matches the culture of the organization and how our Leadership team envisions the organization growing into the future.
What’s your favorite thing about Jewish life?
While I’m very new to the Haggadot team, they know all too well about my love of food and the importance I place on it. It’s not just about consuming (although that is an important part), it’s about the connection it brings me to my family, to our history, and to our traditions. I believe that these traditions and rituals are beautiful heirlooms that are easier to carry forward than, for example, my great grandmother’s dining room set that still sits in my mother’s garage. Luckily, that great grandmother also left us a slew of verbally passed-down recipes. Much lighter to carry! When these are brought to life, they bring back memories and conversation from those at the table chatting about the “right” and “wrong” ways to make a matzah ball. That’s the beauty of Judaism, every way is the right way.