• findSisterhood

Michal Levison

Updated: May 17, 2019


Founder of Seasoned Moments

www.seasonedmoments.com


Tell us about your career and how it all started?

My first career was as a pianist – I won dozens of competitions and performed around the world. Before I was able to attend Juilliard for college, I badly damaged my hands and had to shift gears. I ended up at Tufts and studied African American history and Theater. Throughout all four years, I interned and worked for all kinds of companies – from radio to product marketing to the Late Show with Dave Letterman. Post college, I took a job running sports events (tennis tournaments, golf tournaments, hot air balloon festivals) but the travel took a heavy toll on my relationship. So, I went to work for Ogilvy and oversaw eight Asian markets and the re-branding of Northwest Airlines. This was my #metoo moment and I suffered entirely too much in that one year span. The dissatisfaction with the work coupled with the nightmarish experiences from the men on my team, meant that I needed to find something different.

The Coalition for the Homeless was my next move – where I quickly rose from Special Events Manager to Director of Development in under six months. Running my own department was exciting and I managed to grow the budget by nearly 30% in two years. After 9/11, where I had to evacuate dozens of employees from our building, I knew I needed something more insular. That’s when I launched my first business – a handbag, jewelry and accessory line that was sold in over 60 stores across the US, Europe and the Middle East. I loved it, except that it felt more like I was a bank rather than a creative making her fantasies into real objects. So, I went back into events and ran my own agency. This time, I honed in on branding and event design and consulted to Fortune 500 and 100 corporations and non-profits on national sales conferences, holiday décor, galas and anything else that required super out-of-the-box creative experiences. Cue baby #1! Realizing that I was different from the other parents around me, I started a blog called Bump to Bean to chronicle my life as a mother. After a year, I realized my biggest joy came from developing the baby’s palate and teaching her to cook and savor food. I decided to dive into my passion for food and began a business called Seasoned Moments. I wanted to show people that cooking can be a simple and fun activity that brings a family together. So, I started giving cooking workshops and talks. Then, I wrote two cookbooks (https://amzn.to/2MLY2E2). Now, Seasoned Moments uses food as a vehicle to identify barriers, find a common ground and shift the existing culture. We empower individuals, businesses and communities to reconnect to food, cook together and return to the communal meal in order to achieve more engaged, productive, healthy and happy lives. We don’t always have everything in common, but we all have to eat.


What does sisterhood mean to you?

I believe that women should support other women and their endeavors, champion each other’s achievements and lift each other up. For far too long, we have been set against one another in an unproductive and detrimental way. When we work together, we accomplish much more. As women, we have the power to truly change the world for the better. Together, in sisterhood, we can do it.


What's your personal mantra?

Stay curious and always try everything twice. Curiosity means that I will be a life-long learner which is thrilling and exciting. Giving everything a second chance means that I never fall prey to a fluke.


What is your superpower?

I see through walls. I can identify and analyze barriers between people, find a common ground and shift the existing culture – all through food. We don’t always have everything in common, but we all have to eat


Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:

My female ancestors inspire me, since they all came from nothing and were able to overcome incredible obstacles in order to make a life for themselves and their families.

My maternal great grandmother came to British Palestine in the early 1920’s. Her husband was an engineer brought to run the Haifa flour mills by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. She raised two very young children in difficult conditions (the ground floor of a flour mill). When her husband got an infection in his leg and consequently died in his mid-30s, she was left alone to fend for herself and kids. She made wise financial decisions that enabled her to provide a stable home and income for the three of them.

My paternal grandmother was orphaned at age twelve while living in exile in Siberia. She became a seamstress in order to support herself and her younger sister – a skill she used for the rest of her life. Wherever she moved, she was able to sew and mend clothing for others which literally saved her life and supported her family. She worked as a seamstress until the end of her life.

My mother grew up in a brand new country (Israel) where food and resources were scarce. Her parents, though poor, believed strongly that education and culture were extremely important. She began playing the piano at the age of two, made it on the radio by the age of three and turned it into a career. She won awards and scholarships that brought her to Tel Aviv, and eventually New York City, for her graduate study. When my father had periods of unemployment, she was able to support our entire family by teaching piano and theory.

All three figured out a skill that enabled them to support their families in times of hardship. Through it all, they provided loving, warm environments for their children and encouraged them to reach for their dreams.


What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?

Read and learn as much as you can – from anyone and anywhere. Every single person you come in contact with has something to share. Make connections and keep them. Maintaining relationships is the key to success in any industry.


One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?

Trust your instincts – you know what works for you. You don’t have to stay in a bad place just because of your resume.


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