emory-wire

Changing the World with Honest Communication

For Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi 86C, founder and president of Laszlo Strategies and founder of The Israel Project (TIP), standing shoulder to shoulder in thoughtful conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres, United States President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayyad, and former United States Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton is all normal work.

By Michelle Valigursky

For Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi 86C, founder and president of Laszlo Strategies and founder of The Israel Project (TIP), standing shoulder to shoulder in thoughtful conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres, United States President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayyad, and former United States Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton is all normal work.

Because of her tireless efforts for TIP, Mizrahi has earned the respect of powerful world leaders. As the project’s website describes, the non-partisan, non-governmental TIP is “a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle East to press.” With offices in Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem, Israel, TIP’s 70 employees carry on the professional mission of honesty in reporting, and the pursuit of factual and open communication with the press and policymakers.

After serving as TIP’s CEO for a decade, she recently returned back to her work at Laszlo Strategies.

There Mizrahi reinforces her commitment to good causes. She reflects in her welcome letter, “9/11 changed my life. I became ‘post-partisan,’ a believer in good causes and people. I wake up each morning wanting to move important issues forward.” That passion is evident in her dedication to working with medical science and helping adults and children with special needs. “As someone who has overcome dyslexia and knows personally what it is like to raise a child with special needs, I am especially interested in helping organizations and individuals that focus on empowering every person—regardless of their physical, mental or other differences—to reach their full potential.” She is currently in regular touch with officials from both the Obama and Romney campaigns on issues that impact the one fifth of Americans who have disabilities.

Mizrahi also publishes regularly on issues within the Jewish community to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. She argues forcefully that helping Jewish Day Schools, religious schools and camps be more open to children with special needs is in the interests of ALL Jews. She doesn’t stop with asking for change - she is helping provide tools to make it possible. Her recent piece for religious school teachers is already getting a critical conversation started.

Rewind 25 years to when Mizrahi was a young student hoping to pursue becoming a rabbi. Though this Durham, NC native may have considered attending Duke University, she made the right choice when she “fell in love with the people and the spirit” of Emory. In short order, she committed to Jewish studies (at the time a specialization of a major in Religion), especially appreciating the courses taught by Ellen Umansky as well as the leadership of Ken Stein. Active in Hillel and extremely close with their then leader Rabbi Danny Allen and his wife Mary Lou (who remain friends today), Mizrahi built her foundation for multi-cultural understanding while pursuing Hebrew and French and attending junior year studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. By coincidence, Emory’s Dorot Professor of Jewish Studies Deborah Lipstadt was also Mizrahi’s councilor at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and Mizrahi holds her work in extremely high regard. Said Mizrahi, “I made some of my best friends at Emory and we are still in touch today.”

With a solid curriculum base in international relations, Mizrahi’s professional life gained new focus during her internship at the Israeli consulate in Atlanta. After earning her degree, Mizrahi returned to Israel for further study and then went on to work in public policy in Washington, DC. Before she founded TIP in 2002, her career highlights included service as the foreign affairs legislative assistant to the U.S. Congress, involvement in political campaigns, issue advocacy, product campaigns, and leading the first campaign training seminars for democratic activists working to overthrow communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and leadership in forming Laszlo & Associates, Inc. At the same time, she maintained a marketing role for her family’s international skin care products business, Ella Bache, which has since been sold. She is the co-founder and co-director with her husband Victor Mizrahi, PhD of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust. Together they have two wonderful children.

Mizrahi’s notable leadership and mentoring qualities are apparent in the advice she regularly shares with others. Three times named to the Jewish Daily Forward Forward 50, she is quoted as saying “We’re changing the paradigm.”

She is cited for her “innovative approach to advocacy” and has received numerous accolades for engaging foreign diplomats regarding Israel and in working to stop the threat of Iran. Today she is working to engage global leaders on behalf of people with special needs as well. She is supporting an international treaty for people with disabilities and is working with numerous Jewish groups to move the needle.

Also active on the domestic front, Former President George H.W. Bush previously awarded her a “Point of Light” for her work with the DC Jewish Community Center to help the Homeless.  

Regularly called upon for her expertise by such notable news organizations as CNN, CNBC, FOX, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Economist and others, Mizrahi has firmly established her commitment to education. As she wrote in a recent article for The Huffington Post, “When championing the causes you care about, you have to ensure that your non-profit organization is effective, efficient, and achieves its goals.” But this notable alumna aptly summed her successful professional style with a simple observation when she shared, “A leader can't lose track of life in the trenches.”