A Conversation with Hadassah National Treasurer Michelle I. Hubertus
Stacey Maslow, Vice-Chair, Hadassah Medical Organization: Michelle, tell us about your Hadassah journey. What inspired your involvement?
Michelle Hubertus, Hadassah National Treasurer:
We moved to Millburn, New Jersey, when I was in my 20s. A neighbor invited me to a pool party hosted by Hadassah members. I was extremely impressed by the women I met; they were energetic, friendly and motivated by issues. We just clicked and I felt very welcome right from the beginning. They had a progressive dinner party, which was a wonderful way to take a large group of people and create ways to get to know a few people one in one. After that, I got involved in the chapter. Even after I’d had children, I continued to do local Hadassah activities.
In 2013, I was at a work function in which all the senior women in finance (I am a banker) were advised that we needed to position ourselves for nonprofit boards. I realized I did not have any nonprofit experience and I started to think about which nonprofits matched my interests. Hadassah was important to me, so I applied to be a Hadassah Leadership Fellow. This is an 18-month program for a cohort of young leaders from across the country interested in becoming the next generation of Hadassah leaders.
An important part of the program was visiting the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah’s medical center in Jerusalem. It made an enormous difference to me. People just can’t understand the amazing work going on until they see it for themselves. I was also moved by Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah villages, which gives Israel kids at risk a way to have a productive and fulfilling future. After those incredible experiences, when I returned, I looked to join the national governing body and was elected Henrietta Szold Board Member and then asked to join the Finance Committee.
Stacey Maslow: Tell us about your current involvement with Hadassah.
I am the national treasurer, which marries my finance background with my philanthropic interests. I do this with passion, pride and purpose for finance and for Hadassah. Showing other women that I have a meaningful career and still find time to work with Hadassah is important to me. It shows women they can do what they are passionate about and make a contribution to a philanthropic organization they are enthusiastic about.
I feel lucky that I have found a way to use my talent for finance to help Hadassah. One suggestion I’ve already made is to require Hadassah’s investment manager to take gender diversity into account and place women on the board of her/his company. Updating the tools for finance that Hadassah uses is another activity I have embraced.
Stacey Maslow: Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your Hadassah activities with us. Tell us about your life outside of Hadassah.
I am a managing director at Deutsche Bank. I am married and a mother, and I consider my three children to be my greatest achievement. I’m proud that they have turned out to be high-functioning adults, one in law school, one in graduate school and one heading off to college in the fall.
I also enjoy playing mah-jongg, yoga, bike-riding, dining with friends and I ’ve traveled extensively. I lived in France when I was a student and in London for work. I’ve spent time in Israel through Hadassah. A visit to Buenos Aires was one of my favorite trips; it was interesting to visit the Jewish community there. Two of my three children were Division One athletes in college, my daughter in softball and my son in track and field My favorite place to go with my family is Lake George, where you will find me kayaking and being “at one with the lake.”
Stacey Maslow: Michelle, your interests, travel and commitment to your family are wonderful. To close, tell us about your ideas for Hadassah’s future, nationally and locally. What can our regions and chapters do to grow Hadassah?
I see Hadassah’s future in three ways. One is to embrace a culture of philanthropy. The second is to figure out ways to attract younger women. The third is to narrow our message to “Focus on Hadassah.” We need to tell members that everything they do does make a difference and to commit to their fundraising on all levels, to think about what attracted them to Hadassah and to keep that commitment strong. We need to remind them Israel is our homeland, and we need to help keep it strong and safe.