Four years ago, Laura Goldblum was invited to join a group of community leaders to travel on a Poland and Israel mission with the Broward Jewish Federation. “All of a sudden I had this feeling that there was something more in life, and it was an incredibly moving and important experience.” Laura had attended Federation events before but never felt connected to the group.
“Maybe I was in a mid-life crisis. I had a great family, a wonderful husband and children, and work was rewarding, but I thought it was a good opportunity to go on this trip and spent two months training for the trip.” What she learned started to pull on her heart strings and she came back from her trip with a new sense of responsibility, and a new perspective of what it means to be a Jewish American woman.
Grass Roots Efforts for Executive WomenSince that initial connection, Laura has been able to spark other executive women in the Broward community and form the Women’s Executive Circle. There are now over 30 women taking an active role in Federation, and like Laura, most of them can’t say no, with a commitment to help other women, build relationships and support and mentor their peers. As the CEO of Fine Arts Lamps, this self-proclaimed workaholic has been a wonderful role model to women and men in the Jewish community. With over 500 employees depending on her leadership, Laura is proud of the success of the firm–a premier manufacturer of high-end decorative lighting, doing business in over 60 countries worldwide. Laura is celebrating 20 years with the company where she started as a controller and worked her way up to president and CFO in the last 5 years.Solid Family FoundationLaura has been fortunate to have a support network that began with her parents and now includes her husband Mark and their two sons. Crediting her mom for her Jewish upbringing, Laura remembers the natural evolution of her Jewish life, attending Hebrew school, celebrating holidays and feeling a strong connection to being Jewish.
“It was after we had our sons, Jesse and Ross, that I realized how much that Jewish background counts,” Laura explained. “My mom helped guide me to enroll our sons in David Posnack Hebrew Day School, to help ensure they would have a strong Jewish education.” While Laura was working 80-hour weeks, Laura’s parents, Roz and Bernie Sonenshein, were able to lend Laura and Mark a hand with the boys. Roz often volunteered at the school. Laura also thinks she has her mother’s work ethic. At 82 years old, Roz is still employed doing tax preparation for H & R Block.
Issues affecting women in the communityLaura has been able to make a difference in the community in a short amount of time. The Executive Women’s Circle is helping other executive women with professional guidance and offering great speaker events such as the one last year that featured the CEO of Spanx, Laurie Goldman. “There is a tremendous need in this area for women to feel connected.” New York and Los Angeles are successful examples that Laura hopes the Broward Federation will be able to emulate. Now as the treasurer on the board, and more chairmanships ahead, she is reaching out to others. “Our community faces an uphill battle with so many unaffiliated people. We need to reach out to others.”
Laura’s experiences with the Federation have been personally rewarding and she hopes to create a legacy for her family. An important goal for Laura is to return to Israel with her husband Mark in the future.Email This Article