We had the good fortune of connecting with Elana Frank and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elana, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
When I went through infertility I felt hopeless and alone and thought I was literally the only one going through it. It affected every part of my life and especially my relationships with my husband, family, and friends. It was not something I ever spoke about at first with anyone – even my family, until after I had my first 2 kids in Israel via IVF and found myself in the Atlanta JCC pool speaking with other moms. Suddenly – we were talking about how much our babies cost us – I couldn’t believe so many other people went through this same experience that I did At first, I wanted to just help people financially so they would not have to go through the financial hardship of having children via fertility treatments. Then we realized it was so much more than money – money is great and so helpful but additionally, people really needed emotional support and educational training. And so the mission of the Jewish Fertility Foundation began.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m constantly thinking about JFF’s expansion (15 new locations in the next 5 years!) and building JFF’s organizational culture. I’m in frequent communication with CEOs of other organizations that have grown in a similar fashion, such as Honeymoon Israel, OneTable, Avodah, Moishe House, and Sharshert, to glean lessons and advice that could benefit both JFF-HQ and our expansion cities. I believe that it is essential to learn from the decision-makers and to also listen to their staff. Are the staff handbook’s policies and procedures actually implemented? Over the past five years, we’ve been able to hire two full-time employees and numerous part-time staff and interns, all of whom have been women except for one exemplary male college intern. We are committed to flexibility and understanding as the women who work within our organization balance their work and home life, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue building our incredible organizational culture that not only allows for a healthy work-life balance but encourages it in the following ways: Organization Culture: FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: We honor the work-life balance (especially for moms with young children at home). Flexible work schedule with the majority of hours worked during regular business hours. We hire people who get the work done! Evaluation and merit based on results, not hours. SALARIES: JFF must pay competitive salaries to attract and retain talent. By adjusting salaries and hiring new staff, we will be able to achieve more of our mission. We must consider the replacement cost of the staff. What is the role worth in the competitive market? HEALTH INSURANCE: Given the value of who we are, we want to offer fantastic health benefits to our employees and are currently pricing out plans. PTO: We are employing women in their 20s and above and encouraging fertility. Currently, we offer PTO for employees who have been with JFF for one year. We offer six weeks of paid leave, and we’re currently creating a comprehensive policy for PTO. HARASSMENT: JFF strives to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment, where employees treat each other with respect, dignity, and courtesy. JFF does not tolerate any type of discrimination or harassment of our employees, applicants for employment, or our clients. Discrimination and harassment include sexual harassment, physical or verbal abuse, discrimination based on gender race etc.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Aw man, it’s COVID-19 days and we’ve been really isolated BUT the first outing that came to mind was my love for The Spicy Peach. It’s a kosher specialty grocer offering gourmet soups, sandwiches, salads, cheeses, dry goods & global products. As a full-time working mom of 3 hungry boys, I turn to The Spicy Peach often to offer up healthy meals for my family.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our Board of Directors — many of whom are Founding Directors! The JFF Board of Directors has legal and fiduciary responsibility for the organization and includes people with expertise in law, accounting, fundraising, human resources, and other key fields. The Board of Directors has four active committees: Human Resources, Governance and Nominating, and Development.