Shalom Austin Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Shalom Austin Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Kristina Boshernitzan; Director of Member Experience

What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
Director of Member Experience at Shalom Austin. I think of my job as a concierge role – I want to help members and guests find what they love about the JCC and our organization, and to create a consistently high quality member experience for everyone.

What is your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
I moved here from Houston, TX after my home flooded in Hurricane Harvey. I lived right across from the JCC there, and it was always my home away from home. Previously I was the Section Director of NCJW Houston (a progressive Jewish women’s organization), the Membership and Outreach coordinator at Emanu El (a large reform synagogue in Houston), and part of the Mishpacha and Me team (outreach to families with young children team at the JCC in Houston). I’m passionate about building communities, fostering communication and teamwork, and helping people find their “place” within large organizations. This role was a perfect fit!

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?
I’ve had a few people tell me that they were incredulous about me at first – having such large shoes to fill – but they can’t help but appreciate me. Who doesn’t love being given such kind feedback? I’m a big fan of change, so all the patience members and staff have shown with my tweaks has also been appreciated. We still have our compliment/complaint count form our Welcome Lobby rearranging of furniture up – compliments are up by 4!

What is your favorite part about working here?
The warm and welcoming community of the JCC members and staff has made the transition from Houston so much easier. There just aren’t words to describe how much I enjoy interacting with everyone on a daily basis. It’s like the old adage – but positively modified – who needs friends with a job like this?

Describe any exciting programs or projects in the works?
We’re in the process of implementing a new membership management and program registration system which will make life infinitely easier for members (once we all get used to it!). Currently we’re trying to clean old data and make sure there is equity across the board in terms of membership, and there’s a lot of work to do before it’s finished. But I look forward to the final product! (And also, I look forward to no more fingerprint access – I don’t have readable fingerprints either!)

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
My final word on all my tours is this: Shalom Austin is so much more than a fitness center or program service provider. It’s a community of welcoming individuals creating a home away from home for everyone on campus.

Miriam Mosher; Membership Operations Coordinator
 
What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
Membership Operations Coordinator. My role is to input client data, help members when they have questions or changes to their account, and data analysis.  I also help coordinate information between various departments on campus from Membership & Fitness, to Accounting, and our Early Childhood Program. So I’m either hiding behind my computer monitor or running around like a mad woman.

What is your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
Previously I was Member Services at BodyBusiness Fitness Club, where I did Welcome Desk, Membership, and Operations. Before then I was the Marketing Project Manager at Apogee, Inc.  I managed the on boarding of new clients, trade show and advertising calendars, and Collateral distribution. A friend of mine knew there was a job opening at Shalom Austin and suggested I apply for it. The rest is history!

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?
Getting to know the members. Everyone has been extremely patient with me while I fumble around at the Welcome Desk or offering words of encouragement while I’m helping them. And of course celebrating my little victories when they happen. I’ve met some great people and seen some familiar faces during the 2 months that I’ve been here and I’m looking forward to meeting many more of you!

What is your favorite part about working here?
The staff here is amazing. They are a lot of fun to work with and so incredibly knowledgeable. I’ve learned so much while at the same time having a good time.

Describe any exciting programs or projects in the works?  
I am so excited for the new membership management program that we’ll be implementing this year! Not only will it help the member experience, it will also mean that we will be saying farewell to the much loved biometric system. The inner nerd in me is also looking forward to all the data analysis that I’ll be able to do to help us provide our members with the best experience possible.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
If you want a place where you can feel at home and have a supportive community, you’ve definitely found the right spot. We have something for everyone under one roof.

Deliana Garcia; Shalom Austin Volunteer

What is your role at Shalom Austin?
Through Shalom Austin I have had the opportunity to dedicate time and energy to two areas of personal interest with a Jewish perspective. I have loved books as a mechanism for escape and creativity since I was a little girl. I’ve been a member of different book clubs and reading groups with an interest in politics, women writers and popular non-fiction. J Bookfest includes all of those interests with a particular interest in Jewish themes and authors.

My entire working life has been devoted to social and health care services for underserved populations. Much of that work in these areas is done by faith-based organization whose staff and volunteers are inspired by their own faith tenet. My beliefs inspire me to dedicate my energy to repairing the world where and how I can.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
The desire to volunteer in an environment where those with whom I work are moved by the same ethical beliefs made volunteering with Shalom Austin an easy decision. When I was active in the leadership of Congregation Beth Israel I was always grateful for the services available through Jewish Family Services and wanted to support that work in any way possible.

As someone who has enjoyed the annual Jewish book fair supported by Shalom Austin and its previous iterations I was excited to be a part of the team that reviewed books, selected authors and organized the events. Chairing the committee allowed me to immerse myself in the work of organizing the fest with wonderful community members that love books as much as I do.

Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering is important to me because I need a way to replenish my spirit and sense of possibility to make the world a better place. My day-to-day life is dedicated to migration health and that can be a slow slog – definitely my experience of wandering in the wilderness. The occasion for hope is essential.

What is your background?
I came to Austin in 1974 from El Paso Texas to study at the University of Texas. Very soon after arriving I met many of the people who constitute my Jewish community. I was lucky to have found such a supportive group early in my college career as the experience of coming from a high school of 500 to a university of 45,000 was a shock! I left for a brief stay in Brasil and then returned for graduate school and, like so many people, I never left. My son was born here and now my mother has come to live here with me.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
I would encourage anyone wishing to engage more deeply with the Jewish community outside of their congregation, or if they are unaffiliated, to consider Shalom Austin. If provides an environment where you can be in the company of others with a shared sensibility and a shared sense of history. ■

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