storymark® invites you to a refreshing spin on the leadership podcast. These interviews are dynamic, story-driven conversations about pivotal moments that propelled each guest towards success. You’ll hear revealing truths and unexpected insights from creative visionaries, pioneering innovators, and global leaders. Each guest is leaving a unique mark in their industry and the world — and all are anchored by a connection to Israel. In his role as itrek CEO, storymark host Gil Galanos has spent over a decade conversing with distinguished leaders. Compelled by his curiosity and motivated by the marks these leaders are leaving, Gil decided to hit the “record button” on the revealing conversations he was already having. Now you get to listen in. itrek is a non-profit organization that equips rising influentials — graduate students in business, law, policy & STEM — to lead their peers on week-long treks to Israel for an up-close look at the “start-up nation,” in order to gain a nuanced understanding of the country’s complexity and richness. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


May 23, 2023 20 mins

When deciding which professional path to pursue, Tzipi Livni defied the expectations set by her politically active parents and initially chose a career in law. But sometimes a calling transcends pragmatism, and when Israel found itself split down the middle and rife with tension Tzipi was compelled to change direction and run for office.

Tzipi amassed an impressive array of political roles, most famously, Israel’s Vice Prime Min...

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Seth Siegel has a penchant for following his curiosity and doing the unexpected. As a serial entrepreneur, Seth seamlessly moves from one endeavor to the next. This agility led to a diverse range of experience, from practicing law to licensing trademarks, and from writing an award-winning book on the global water crisis to producing a Broadway show. This unconventional career trajectory may have made his stability-oriented father n...

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Laura Hassner intentionally sought out educational experiences in unfamiliar environments so she could stretch herself personally and intellectually. From opting into a multilingual school setting, to embarking on foreign exchange experiences in Chile and England, Laura truly considers the world her classroom. 

Eager to introduce a global mindset to students, Laura landed her dream job at Berkeley as builder of an entre...

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Tom Cohen's love for music has deep roots that can be traced back to his childhood home, where he and his parents listened to a wide variety of genres without judgment. This impartiality would prove invaluable as Tom later developed his own sound. 

As the founder and head conductor of the Jerusalem Orchestra East and West, Tom creates a new, integrated musical experience that blends sounds from the East and West, old and ne...

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Alma and Daniel Hernandez are a dynamic brother-sister duo; each with a powerful story to tell. 

Raised in a loving Mexican-American home, they harnessed their family’s love and support as a springboard to forge their own paths.

During their adolescence, Alma and Daniel each faced unexpected traumas that could have derailed their plans. Instead, they chose to use their healing experiences to help others and turn their strugg...

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Felipe Neves takes nothing for granted. Growing up in Brazil, his mother worked tirelessly to provide Felipe with a private education. After graduating from law school in Brazil and working at a law firm for several years, Felipe developed a burning desire to share what he learned about his country’s government and political infrastructure with young Brazilian public school students. This would become Felipe’s modus operandi; learn...

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You’ve heard of failing upwards and there’s a reason for that. Today’s guest is best-known for inventing the widely used USB memory flash drive. But perhaps Dov Moran should also be revered as an entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to fail, and isn’t afraid to admit it.

As a child, Dov had the characteristics of an entrepreneur; curiosity, aptitude for technology, and perhaps most importantly, the influence of his grandfather — himsel...

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Ten days in Israel and an inherited passion for Indonesia were all Niruban Balachandran needed to dedicate his life to cultivating connections between unlikely cultures. Where others saw the likelihood of failure, Niruban saw opportunity. Believing that his global finance background would be instrumental in promoting peace, he leveraged his experience to transition into the field of international aid.

In this storymark spotlight...

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For The New York Times best-selling author, Adeena Sussman, cookbooks aren’t just a collection of recipes — they’re love letters.

At just nine years old, Adeena was tackling complicated recipes in her family’s kosher home. Yet, she was more interested in fostering connections than mastering recipes. Adeena relished the shared stories and camaraderie that occurred when family, friends, and guests gathered together for meals....

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According to his middle school yearbook, Matti Friedman wanted to be a journalist when he grew up. The only problem? He didn’t really know what that meant. 

But Matti knew that writing was the best way to make sense of a very complicated world. As his career progressed, Matti allowed his life experiences to influence the formation of his work. From his early days in Israel living on a kibbutz, to his first gig as a reporter...

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For Adi Altschuler, “inclusion” and “safe spaces” have been a way of life since childhood. More than performative buzzwords, she embodies both by truly seeing and hearing those who are different.

At the age of 16, Adi successfully established Krembo Wings, a social movement for all youth with and without disabilities. The idea blossomed from a beautiful friendship she had with a young boy with cerebral palsy. She would later tac...

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In an effort to become more comfortable in her own skin, literally, Siqu Mou utilized her joint MBA/MPA degree from Harvard and Stanford to find new solutions to age-old skincare problems. Relying on new technology and her entrepreneurial upbringing she founded HelloAva, the first online smart-skin consultant.

Gil gets a peek into Siqi’s early years where creativity and achievement were modeled first by her parents and later by ...

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Traffic: most of us tense up just thinking about it, but not today’s guest! He studied and obsessed over it — believing there had to be a solution to this aggravating byproduct of modern civilization. He was right. Uri Levine co-founded Waze; the first crowd-sourced, real-time, traffic app. While he didn’t eliminate traffic altogether, he successfully changed the navigation game entirely. Uri’s entrepreneurial success didn’t st...

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At her very first judo class in the mid-1970’s, Yael Arad was the only girl. The youngest of four, she was used to being a tagalong, but in this class she led the pack. What followed was an unexpected journey that opened up her world and laid the foundation for her future career.  

Yael Arad took to the sport instantly, not only because of her natural athletic aptitude, but for the mental agility and fortitude it requi...

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In an environment defined by physical strength and hyper-masculinity, Miri Eisin deployed a leadership style which pushed gender boundaries and expectations. Often the only woman in the male dominated IDF upper ranks, Miri constantly considered when and how to integrate her femininity into the job. From whether or not to wear make up, to the tone of her voice, every decision she made was intentional.

Miri’s impressive climb to t...

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What is a country — even a new one, without a guiding set of rules and beliefs? Legal scholar and former politician Uriel Reichman believed Israel’s constitution was overdue. So, he spent six years drafting a proposal for an Israeli constitution. 

Reichman applied that same tenacity to education where he went on to found the country’s first non-profit, private University which would eventually bear his name — Reichman ...

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Today’s episode isn’t a fairy tale, but it does feature a knight. Sir Ronald Cohen was one of the very first to bring venture capital to the UK — and he was knighted for his contribution. For Cohen though, the best part of making money through investing wasn’t the money itself, but the good that could be done with it.

Often called the “Father of Social Investment,” Cohen tackles complex problems head on with strategic investment...

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There’s more than one way to be a philanthropist, and Sylvan Adams’ way, is quite possibly the most fun.

Before becoming Israel’s unofficial “hype-man,” Sylvan Adams had an extraordinarily successful career as a real estate developer. After making Aliyah from Canada, Sylvan was determined to make Israel famous for more than the conflict and controversial headlines. From Madonna concerts to European bike tours, Adams tells Gil ho...

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Yaron Galai is the Co-Founder and CEO of Outbrain, and one of the most respected visionaries in tech. Would it surprise you to learn that he is also proud to be called the most boring person in the world?

He rode the wave of the dot com bubble, happily partnering with tech giants like Yahoo and AOL. Yaron’s first company, Quigo, was eventually acquired by Microsoft. He continued innovating in a rapidly developing space when it o...

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Burned out from a taxing career in law enforcement, today’s guest found freedom on a bike and quickly made incredible strides as a competitive cyclist. Then it all — quite literally, came crashing down. Lucky for her, she wasn’t afraid of an uphill battle.

Leah Goldstein is best known for being the first woman to win the overall solo division of the Race Across America. But it’s what came before and after her success, that revea...

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