“Working Magic”: JVS Career Services catapults careers for family of 5

By Danielle Minson, Chief Development Officer, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati

When long-time Montgomery resident Carol Wolkoff sent her 24-year-old daughter Rachel to talk with Dedra Perlmutter, a career consultant at JVS Career Services, she had no idea the visit would result in new career opportunities for her entire family.

Six months later, Rachel is happily settled in a new career. Carol’s son, Jeffrey, is excelling in his first job out of college. Her college-aged daughter, Samantha, is ready for the right internship. What’s more, Carol and her husband, David, have discovered that work can be fun again. Both have started new careers utilizing their existing skills in more satisfying and challenging ways.

“JVS worked its magic for all of us!” said Carol.
Rachel: finding the courage to change paths

It all started with Rachel, who had a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but was curious if another career path might work better for her.

Dedra updated Rachel’s resume, showed her how to network using LinkedIn, and administered several career assessments.

“Turned out, Rachel has a very outgoing, extroverted personality and she decided she had an interest in becoming a recruiter,” Dedra said. The two worked over the course of regular sessions to build Rachel’s portfolio and prepare her for interviews.

It wasn’t long before Rachel had landed a job with Maxim Healthcare Services, a home healthcare provider.

“Dedra really helped me see that there were so many opportunities out there for career paths, especially in the healthcare field,” Rachel said.
Jeffrey: perfecting the presentation and negotiating for the best opportunity

“Rachel met with me two times, and she said, ‘I have to send my brother!’” Dedra recalled. Soon, Dedra was meeting regularly with Jeffrey Wolkoff, who was about to graduate from the University of Cincinnati.

“I was starting to apply for teaching jobs, and I was clueless,” Jeffrey admitted.

“He was very confident,” Dedra said. “He had the skills and the personality, for sure. He just needed to do things the right way in order to get himself in the right position to get the job he wanted.”

The two worked together to make Jeffrey’s resume stand out by highlighting his coaching experience. They carefully put together application materials for him to take to an upcoming job fair, and they worked on his image.

“I recommended he get a tie to help market his enthusiasm for the school he wanted to work for. He picked out a green tie that matched their colors!” Dedra said. “At the career fair, he got a lot of interest. Schools heard about his coaching experience, and they saw him standing out with his bright green tie,” she added, with a proud smile.

After the fair, he got a number of calls from school systems with which he’d left his resume. Then it was a matter of picking the right offer and negotiating the best package.

“When it was time to make a decision, I called Dedra. We walked through all the possible situations and we picked the best option for me,” Jeffrey said. He accepted a coaching and teaching offer from Hamilton City schools.

“Dedra is more than just a resume helper,” Jeffrey said. “She’s a friend and a lifeline.”
Samantha: launching a career by preparing for an internship

It wasn’t long before the youngest Wolkoff sibling, Samantha, caught wind of the success her older sister and brother had through JVS Career Services.

“After seeing their progress, I decided it was probably a good idea to start to schedule meetings,” said the University of Cincinnati business major.

Dedra polished Samantha’s resume, and the two have been working on Samantha’s interviewing skills while Dedra continues to look for upcoming internship opportunities.

“I now feel like I know I’ll have a future after I graduate college,” Samantha said.
David: re-inventing a resume and making the right connection

Having seen what JVS Career Services did for his three kids, David Wolkoff was hopeful Dedra could “work her magic” for him, too.

“He hadn’t job searched 13 years, so he really had nothing put together that was anywhere near current,” Dedra said.

She helped David define his background and get his experience formatted into an updated resume. The materials came together just in time for a facilities management opportunity that Dedra heard about before the job was even posted. She put David in touch with the hiring manager, and it was a perfect match.

“It sounds serendipitous, but it wasn’t,” Dedra said. “This is what we do every day. It’s our connections. We’re working both sides of the aisle. While we’re nurturing our clients, we’re doing the same thing with our business contacts.”
Carol: “My entire family is forever grateful”

After having watched her entire family re-invent themselves, Carol started wondering if, after seven years as the Assistant Aquatics Director at the University of Cincinnati, there might be something better out there for her, too.

What Carol thought might be an arduous job search came to an end in just two weeks, when two different employers called with interest. Thanks to Dedra, Carol’s resume was updated and ready to go in time.

“What people don’t realize is that when there’s a job that’s available, things don’t drag on. It happens like that,” Dedra said. “I had her ready so she was able to take action on that job.”

Dedra also helped Carol craft an exit strategy, which allowed her to leave the job she’d spent nearly a decade doing in time to take an exciting new position in administration at Sycamore High School.

“My entire family is forever grateful to Dedra for her care and diligence. It transformed all of us!” Carol said. “JVS Career Services is batting 100% for the Wolkoffs,” her husband David chimed in.

Wolkoff_wDedraDedra Perlmutter (right), JVS Career Consultant, with the Wolkoff family.

JVS Career Services 2015 Annual Meeting


On May 26, 2015, JVS Career Services held its Annual Meeting and launched the celebration of its 75th anniversary.   Rabbi Sissy Coran of Rockdale Temple delivered the invocation, referencing the sanctity of the work of helping people find jobs.  Shep Englander, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, presented Board Chair Sandy Kaltman with a large check, which was directed to JVS Career Services by the late Bill Friedlander.  Mr. Friedlander was a former board chair of Jewish Vocational Service and a community philanthropist.

Sandy Kaltman’s Board Chair report focused on the major events of the past year, which included the search for and the hiring of CEO Joni Burton, a senior management executive with decades of experience in the employment industry.  Another significant event was the receipt of a capacity building grant from The Jewish Foundation, designed to expand JVS Career Services and position it to become the lead agency in the community’s Cincinnati 2020 effort to create a jobs and networking hub here.  Kaltman reported that in 2014, 108 members of the Jewish community working with JVS Career Services found new jobs, collectively earning $4.5 million in wages.

Joni Burton and Managing Director Kim Slaton reported on changes taking place at JVS Career Services directed at working with clients during their full career spectrum, from college through retirement.  In addition to Slaton’s reorganization of client services, the agency now has a business development manager who will work with CEO Burton in building business relationships with area employers.  The agency is assisting other Jewish agencies and organizations with hiring, and will be offering fee-based services to employers, such as recruiting and outplacement.

Nominating Committee Chair Bob Oestreicher presented his committee’s report.  The Board approved the recommendations of the Nominating Committee, adding Peter Landesman, Ari Mann and Lev Orlov as new members.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary, the meeting concluded with a historical review by former CEO Peter Bloch.  Bloch noted that “from the very beginning, the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah have been at the core of Jewish Vocational Service’s culture and decision making.”  Board Chair Sandy Kaltman stated that “the agency has been blessed with hard working and dedicated leadership, both lay and professional, over 7 and ½ decades, all with the same goal of helping clients find meaningful employment.”

JVS Career Services officers for the coming year are: Sandy Kaltman, Chair; Robert Oestreicher, Vice Chair; Lori Frischer, Treasurer; Ed Freeman, Secretary; Jan Armstrong Cobb, Immediate Past President; and Jody Brant, Past Chair.  Continuing board members are Stan Better, Shary Levitt, Jamie Dalin, Jeffrey Stern and Blair Wolkoff.

JVS Career Services Announces New CEO

Joni Burton

The Board of Trustees of JVS Career Services is pleased to announce the hiring of Joni Burton as CEO.  Burton brings decades of experience in recruiting, staffing and management.  For the past ten years, she has served as CEO of ERB Solutions, a permanent placement and staffing company that assisted organizations in recruiting top-notch talent.

Burton has a large network of established contacts with Cincinnati employers, along with a proven track record in starting and managing businesses in the employment field. “After all my years in the corporate world, I am excited to have the opportunity to give back to the community by helping people find jobs and by expanding the services provided by the agency,” said Burton.

As one of her first acts as CEO, Burton has promoted Kim Slaton, an experienced Career Consultant who has also served as Director of Connections and Interim CEO at JVS Career Services, to Managing Director. She will oversee the agency’s career services, which include connecting job seekers with employers and mentors, one-on-one support to clients during the job search process, assistance with preparation of resumes and cover letters, organization of a job search plan, and improving networking and interviewing skills.

Sandy Kaltman, JVS Career Services Board Chair, noted, “We are thrilled to have Joni as our CEO. Under the very capable leadership of our new management, we look forward to working with our community funders at the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Foundation to grow the agency and make Cincinnati the best networked Jewish community for finding jobs.”

With the assistance of a generous capacity-building grant from the Jewish Foundation, JVS Career Services will be able to significantly expand both the types of services offered to job seekers and employers, and the number of clients served. “The Foundation was very proud to partner with JVS Career Services, the Jewish Federation and Cincinnati 2020 in selecting such a skilled and accomplished leader as Joni Burton,” said Jewish Foundation President Beth Guttman. “We look forward to working with her and our community partners on collective efforts to make Cincinnati a more connected Jewish community where people can find meaningful careers and supportive networks.”

JVS Career Services will be taking a leading role in the Jewish Federation’s Cincinnati 2020 Jobs and Networking Initiative. This multi-agency collaboration is designed to help make Cincinnati a Jewish destination and increase its Jewish population by strengthening life-long employment and community connections. JVS Career Services will be working closely with the Federation’s Esther & Maurice Becker Networking and Mentoring Center on shared strategies for networking and for attracting and retaining Jews in our community. Tedd H. Friedman, V.P. of Strategic Planning, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, commented, “Cincinnati 2020 envisions combining our strengths to become the best community in which to build a gratifying career. The Federation looks forward to partnering with JVS Career Services to help community members find and keep jobs and enjoy their careers. Joni Burton’s decades of experience will enable JVS Career Services to partner in a community-wide effort to bring Cincinnati 2020’s vision to reality.”

JVS Career Services Launches Motivation Monday Workshop Series

Experiencing the Monday morning jobless blues? Monday mornings during a job search can be tough. Facing the week without direction or a place to go is profound and can be dispiriting to your job search. Combat the dreaded Monday morning syndrome with a session designed to motivate and support job seekers. Grab a cup of coffee and join the JVS Career Services consultants and other job searching candidates for a morning of motivation, job searching tips and networking. Kick off the week and get things going so you can move closer to achieving your employment goals. Open to enrolled JVS Career Services candidates.

Click on the following link that will take you to our current Events Calendar that can link you to this month’s events, or call 513-936-9675.

Events Calendar

Ed Freeman named “Volunteer of the Year” by JVS Career Services

edfreemanMazel tov to Ed Freeman on being recognized as the “Volunteer of the Year” for JVS Career Services.

Ed Freeman is a highly dedicated professional who has volunteered his time and shared his job seeking expertise with hundreds of JVS Career Services’ clients. Ed is a dynamic and powerful communicator who possesses the gift of being able to inspire and support people through complex career changes.  Through his instruction and encouragement, people are empowered and encouraged to meet challenges they never before thought possible. Ed is a humble and approachable person who loves to share his extensive knowledge and expertise with others.

Peter Bloch recently announced retirement from JVS Career Services

jvs pbloch croppedIn a letter announcing his retirement, Bloch commented that his retirement follows a “tremendously rewarding 37 year volunteer and professional career with the agency, coinciding with his long planned departure from Easter Seals TriState following the combination 18 months ago.”

Bloch reflected that the combination “has resulted in two stronger, more sustainable organizations, each better positioned to focus on their respective mission and to deliver more impactful outcomes.

Bloch went on to say “For the last 16 years as CEO, JVS has been my passion and my purpose; I cherish the many opportunities I have been afforded and the many resourceful, caring and forward looking colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work.”

Read what others have said about Peter Bloch

Jewish Federation of Cincinnati  –  Easter Seals Tristate