The Jewish Chamber of Commerce: Helping Young Professionals Thrive in Montreal

Last month, the Jewish Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2013 Promies Awards at the Windsor Ballroom in Montreal. In addition to honouring six well-deserving young Jewish professionals for their business leadership, creativity and community spirit, the evening took on an even broader significance, reminding us of the many initiatives the community has taken over the past decades to help ensure our young professionals thrive here.

“Creating professional opportunities is one of the key driving factors in keeping our bright young minds in Montreal,” said Doug Liberman, President of the Jewish Chamber of Commerce. A quick glance at previous winners re-affirms this fact. The Promies alumni is chockfull of well-established Montreal businesses, and includes the likes of international giants like Ice.com and Beyond the Rack, as well as local industry leaders such as Lasik MD, Pazazz Printing Inc. and Olymbec, among others. “This points to a wealth of talented individuals who made a conscious decision to remain in Montreal and establish their careers and families in this community,” continued Liberman.

A new generation of talent

This year’s winners offer similar cachet, paying tribute to major players in a wide array of industries including food and beverage, technology, fitness, entertainment, sports, law, and gaming. Moreover, they really highlight the community’s sense of industriousness, and help to validate the efficacy of previous initiatives.

In fact, many of today’s success stories can be traced back nearly 15 years to the creation of  ProMontreal – a strategic, multi-faceted Federation CJA initiative created and developed as a response to the alarming number of young Jews leaving the city.

The challenge

“About fifteen years ago, our community was in crisis mode. We had thousands of smart young professionals leaving for places like Toronto in pursuit of greater economic opportunity. We knew that if we hoped to maintain a thriving community, we’d have to be proactive by creating those opportunities for them here as well,” said David Cape, former Chair of ProMontreal and current President of Federation CJA.

ProMontreal and its subsidiaries did just that, establishing a job placement agency for university graduates, startup loans to help people launch their businesses in Montreal, and social programming and networking events to give young professionals every chance to connect with each other and their community.

“We really attacked the issue from every angle. Taking stock of our current community leaders, many of whom benefitted from the activities of ProMontreal, I believe the success of this initiative is something we can all be proud of and hopefully continue to build upon,” continued Cape.

Our ongoing efforts

Today, while the problem has been stabilized, Federation CJA and its agencies continue to take a proactive approach to ensuring that our future generations have every chance to succeed.

Agence Ometz is now responsible for ProMontreal, and continues to offer placement services, training and workshops, networking cocktails, as well as start-up loans and mentoring programs.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Chamber of Commerce (JCC) continues to connect Jewish professionals with the right networks to elevate their careers. “The JCC has provided us all with a phenomenal forum to grow and develop our network. I can attest to the fact that I have not only learned from the sessions that the JCC hosts, but have also developed my own client network by regularly attending events,” said Lieberman.

Between all these efforts, past and ongoing, the future of the Montreal Jewish community remains ripe with opportunity for young professionals.

For more information about the JCC and the Promies, visit www.jccmontreal.com

2013 Promies Award Winners.

From left to right: Michael Goldberg, David Ettedgui, Steven Singer, Darren Morenstein (on behalf of Harley Morestein), Stuart Elman, Charles Bierbrier, Robert Bloom, Tanya Toledano and Danny Sebag ( on the behalf of David Baazov)

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