Propel Network's Vision Mapping Workshop: One Step Towards Happiness

By Arlette Cojab Jul 10, 2019 09:52 PM

The Propel Network is a non-profit organization with the aim of empowering Jewish women through certificate courses, career coaching, and finding a profession. It was founded in 2015 by Rebecca Harary and Ezra S. Ashkenazi, two community leaders who wanted to provide the women of our community with the tools to earn and succeed. 


Ellen Ades has been Propel’s career coach since its founding. She guides women through the job-searching process. In her words, Propel is about “really getting to know a woman… it’s a client driven organization. After identifying [a client’s] strengths, we start to put a plan together. We execute it together.”


On July 9, Alissa Shams, co-executive director of Propel, opened her beautiful home in Bradley Beach, NJ for a Vision Mapping Workshop. The workshop was attended by around fifteen women, all potential Propel clients. Vision mapping, or vision boarding, is an exercise in which one takes a poster board, scissors, glue, and an assortment of magazines. The idea is to cut out words or pictures that speak to you or illustrate your goal in life and to paste it onto the board. It’s easy to dismiss this kind of activity, but seeing your aspirations physically laid out in front of you can be powerful and motivating. 

Alice Chera, another career coach that was leading the workshop, gave a brief opening speech in which she expressed that she, “loves this activity because it’s a way to spend an hour, or a couple of hours, sitting with yourself, going through magazines, and really asking, ‘What do I want my life to look like?’” 

Of the women attending, almost all of them were married, several were mothers, and many attendees were already considering becoming a client of Propel before the workshop. As they started passing magazines around, you could see cutouts of beautiful homes, children playing, and uplifting words like “faith” and “love.” These women were outlining their life, their goals, and their dreams on a poster board. 

“It’s really reflective,” said one woman at the table. “What stands out to you might not stand out to someone else. It really shows your values and who you are on the inside.”

“I think that once it’s on the board, it’s like it's set in stone,” said another attendee. “It’ll be fulfilled once you put it down.”

Two hours passed almost too quickly and, one by one, every woman stood to present their board and what it meant to them. They poured their hearts out explaining why they chose certain images to cut out and an older woman was even moved to tears talking about watching her children grow up. They left Shams’ house in high spirits, hopefully, ready to put their plans into action. Viviane Darwish, Propel Director of Administration, seemed confident that these women would soon be dialing the Propel Network’s number.

“We’ve probably touched about 700 women through networking events, mentorship events, and workshops,” said Darwish. “We have high school students calling us all the way up to women in their fifties.”

Propel is entirely non-profit and relies on its board and donors. If you want to support the cause of empowering our community’s women, you can make a donation on their website, click here for more information!

Arlette is a talented writer currently working as Sephardic.Org's Summer events intern.