Volunteer Spotlight: Rachel Selber Kropp
If you have been job hunting and have attended our career workshops, you might have met Rachel Selber Kropp. Rachel is one of the workshop facilitators for Career Services – Tools for Employment, leading mostly the job search skills workshop but also at times resume-writing and interviewing skills. She also runs the LinkedIn and online networking classes at JF&CS and some of the synagogues in our outreach program.
As much as she wanted to, volunteering to this extent wasn’t something Rachel was able to do a few years ago. With a background in consumer product marketing and experience working in large corporations on a variety of well-known brands, her intense work and travel schedule limited her time. But when the economy tanked, she found herself not working full time and looking for some consulting work. In the meantime, she had seen a story on volunteers in a JF&CS newsletter and decided that was something she would like to do. She initially was interested in being a mentor for someone who wanted a career in marketing.
“I really had no involvement with the agency, but I was looking for a way to give back to the community that would fit within my personal mission of helping others help themselves,” Rachel said. “I want to give people the tools and skills they can use throughout their careers.”
Discussions in the workshops focus mainly on networking both in person and online, organizing and prioritizing steps in the job search and informational interviews. “What are those activities that will give you the biggest bang for your buck?” she explained.
In addition to the career workshops, Rachel created a workshop on Online Networking and LinkedIn that Charlotte Hayes, one of JF&CS’ career counselors, calls outstanding. She said Rachel’s eagerness and energy have contributed much to the department.
“She brings an expertise in the most recent and relevant online resources for job searching,” said Charlotte. “The participants give her outstanding evaluations for the clarity, helpfulness and professionalism of her presentations. They leave feeling better equipped to manage their online presence.”
A native of Atlanta, Rachel grew up in a family that “was all about giving back.” Her mother taught GED classes to Spanish-speaking students who were new to the country, and Rachel would go along with her and tutor them in math. Plus, in the 1970s, her late and beloved father, a systems analyst, developed a Jewish calendar program for Congregation Or VeShalom, which other Atlanta-area synagogues used. She thinks her parents might be at the root of her penchant for volunteering – which goes beyond JF&CS to the Congregation Shearith Israel Night Shelter, Dress For Success, the Congregation Or VeShalom board and, in the past, the Latin American Association.
Rachel actually had to step back a bit since her son, Riley, was born a year ago. But she loves what she does for JF&CS. In addition to the workshops, she participates in the agency’s Marketing Committee and completed the Tools for Leaders program.
“I sought out JF&CS because I viewed it as an agency that made a sustainable impact on the community, and I wanted to be part of it,” she said. Her message to others thinking about volunteering? “You get a lot more out of it than you put in. You are surrounded by inspiring people and you also help to inspire people. One of the people who came to a workshop sent a note telling me how my workshop led to her finding a job that was perfect for her. That had to be one of my favorite moments.”