by George J Elbaum
A few days before my January 27 talk commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (see previous post), I received an unusual email. The writer, Robert Goren, heard about the planned speaking engagement, checked my website and read some excerpts of my story and Q&A. He wanted to attend but could not due to business travel, so he emailed me introducing himself. Being an executive at a San Francisco-based marketing technology company who had visited Auschwitz and was deeply moved by the experience, he wrote that my presentation would have a strong impact on his colleagues and himself, and he asked if I would consider presenting my story for his company. His initiative truly impressed me, and while I’ve never presented in a corporate setting, his forthright approach caused me to respond immediately: yes, let’s do it.
NextRoll is a marketing technology company, headquartered in San Francisco, which fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion through its employee resource groups, which bring together members and allies from different communities. One of these groups is ChaiRoll, NextRoll’s Jewish employee resource group which hosts events to educate about Jewish history and traditions, celebrate Jewish holidays and give back to the community. Robert organized my presentation in recognition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. While it was hosted in NextRoll’s San Francisco headquarters, it was also live-streamed to offices in New York City, Salt Lake City and Chicago, so more than 200 people from across the company listened to my message. During the Q&A I was especially pleased by one very important question live-streamed from the New York office: “How can we best honor the victims of the Holocaust?” and also the very first question because it dealt directly with a memorable personal experience re an unrepentant Nazi: “Have you ever met any of the German rocket engineers who were brought to the United States after WWII?”
Thanks to the ChaiRoll Board of Directors for coordinating the event (Robert Goren, Jessica Grist, Jessica Brown, Sam Shapiro, Will Yeo, Erez Suissa), to Claudia Villanueva (Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager) and to the entire NextRoll leadership team for supporting it. The superb photography is the handiwork of Laura Finnerty.