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Connecting with others is worth singing about

When my son was born, my mother said that she couldn’t get the song “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon out of her head. She’d hold him, rock him in her arms and gently, in lullaby fashion, whisper “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy,” as Lennon’s legendary refrain would go.

 

My mother said that being a parent was her greatest achievement. When my husband and I were diagnosed with unexplained “secondary infertility” a few years later, I learned that no one should take the gift of being a parent for granted. Based on this experience, I decided that part of my life’s mission must include helping those in my community who struggle with issues surrounding fertility. The more I talked about my experience, the more I heard from others about their difficulties, heartaches and loneliness with their fertility challenges. When it came time to launch a new project in my community (Priya: A Fund for Jewish Reproduction) to address these issues, I called upon those who believed in this cause as much as I did to seek their support in carrying this mission forward. These “cheerleaders,” who are excited to see new phases of the project’s growth, fuel the passion for my work.

My cheerleaders emerged through one-on-one conversations, mostly in coffee shops a la Alana Muller’s coffeelunchcoffee.com. Stories were shared, trust was built, and I came away with advocates in my professional corner. In turn, I had the opportunity to learn what inspires them and offer ways I might be of assistance in helping them achieve their goals. I took an emotional risk during these networking experiences, and shared a bit more about myself beyond my c.v. The connections I made as a result were well worth the risk.

Thankfully, with the right mix of Western as well as Eastern medicine, prayers and good fortune, our secondary infertility was resolved. I was able to conceive two more children, this time girls. Lennon’s famous lyrics still resonated, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

Networking isn’t just about getting us to the next step in our professional careers. Networking in and of itself is essential to our professional growth, and has the power to influence our personal goals too. In my case, these two aspects intersected and have changed the course of my life.

We should allow ourselves to speak passionately and openly with those who share our dreams. Taking an emotional risk can deepen professional networking ties; we are challenged to think in new ways. We become accountable for believing in ourselves, we learn that our ambitions are worthwhile.

Like my mother, the job I most value is being a parent and I am grateful for this opportunity. The rewards are far from monetary, but every day has infinite possibility. When we connect with others in a professional setting, even over vulnerable aspects our lives, we open ourselves up to creating a better world together. This is worth singing about.

Annie Glickman co-founded Priya: A fund for Jewish Reproduction in both Dallas, Texas, and Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband, Rabbi David Glickman. She is currently director of school services for the international Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning as well as director of Priya in Kansas, which is in partnership with The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Family Services and The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. The fund received financial support this year from J-LEAD, The Flo Harris Foundation, Jewish Federation and private donations. This article originally appeared on Alana Muller’s professional networking blog, CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.

Priya: A Fund for Jewish Reproduction

The Priya Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation in Kansas City was established in July 2015 to support local Jewish couples on their fertility and adoption journeys. Priya, which means “being fruitful,” works with Jewish families across the community to provide: 

• fertility consultation for individual families

• expertise on community resources for families experiencing fertility issues and, 

• financial resources for costly medical treatments and adoption. 

While Priya is a fund, it offers much more than just financial assistance to families who find themselves in need of assistance with fertility. Thanks to Priya and its partner agency, Jewish Family Services, five new babies have joined Kansas City’s Jewish community since Priya’s inception.

Priya is currently seeking families in need of fertility and/or adoption assistance, as well as donations to the fund. Families may reach Priya confidentially by contacting Brooke Nelson at Jewish Family Services, 913-327-8250, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations to the Priya Fund are accepted through The Jewish Community Foundation. 

 

To learn more about Priya, go to priyafund.org, or contact Annie Glickman, 214-870-1466, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.