Women Leaders of Associated Agencies

Since Lauren Shaivitz and Lisa Budlow recently took over the helm at CHANA and CHAI respectfully, these two dynamic women are continuing the legacy of their predecessors while providing their own ideas on how to propel their organizations forward.

Yet already these two dynamic women are making their mark – continuing the legacy of their predecessors while providing their own ideas on how to propel their organizations forward.

These native Baltimoreans, both attorneys with deep roots in the local Jewish community, speak candidly about their new roles – their priorities, the trends that will affect their work and the challenges they may face, while shedding a little bit of light on what makes them tick.

Lauren Shaivitz

How did you get into this field?
In my first year at Hamilton College (in Clinton, N.Y.), I learned about the local YWCA’s rape crisis hotline. I signed up for an 80-hour training course. Afterwards, I carried around a pager every single weekend in college to answer calls. I would go to court or to the hospital with victims of sexual assault – supporting them any way I could. I loved it and realized this work was meant for me.

You joined CHANA in 2012.
I came from the Child Abuse Center and when I heard about the opening at CHANA, I jumped at the opportunity. It was a chance to do the work I loved in the community in which I was part.

I would like to have a stronger voice in Annapolis. To that end, I am hoping to create a legislative committee that identifies gaps in the legislature affecting victims of abuse and take a leadership role in bridging those gaps.

Second, I want to enhance CHANA’s legal services so that all our clients will be in the position to have representation. Often, victims who leave their marriage are financially unstable. When they cannot afford to have legal representation, they either stay in the relationship longer than they want or the final outcome is unfavorable to them.

Your role?
I see this as an opportunity for me to be out in the community more and let everyone across Jewish Baltimore know that CHANA is here for them. I want to make sure they also understand our core values – that we are about confidentiality and safety.

Challenges Ahead?
As technology evolves so do the abusive tactics. Every day there are new apps that lead to new methods of stalking as well as new forms of surveillance. We need to keep educating and informing our staff about what is out there and how it is being used so they can keep up and better educate their clients.

In addition, it’s important that we engage the younger generation so that they understand how important this issue is and that it affects all of us. When I say abuse affects one in four, I mean one in four – across all ages. I want to bring the millennial generation into the conversation.

You are from Baltimore.
I grew up in Pikesville, went to Baltimore Hebrew and after my bat mitzvah, I went on to confirmation class. Judaism was always a big part of my identity.

Favorite Jewish holiday.
Passover. My grandfather was a religious man and growing up, our Seders went until two in the morning. It was important to him to open his home to anyone who didn’t’ have anywhere to go, and as a result, there were always a lot of people around the table.

What do people not know about you?
I have an adventurous side. I’ve jumped out of an airplane and jumped off cliffs in Australia.

Lisa Budlow

Before becoming Chief Executive Officer of CHAI, you oversaw its aging in community division. What are your priorities moving forward in terms of working with older adults?
First of all, I’d like to expand our transportation network for seniors. My vision – something I’ve seen work successfully in other communities – is to build a volunteer driver network that supports older adults who choose to continue to live in their homes.

We recently hired a transportation coordinator who will make the connections. Drivers will pick up older adults at their homes and take them to doctor’s appointments, food stores, even to friends to play bridge. I can see the drivers building personal relationships with the seniors – even requesting to drive the same ones around each time.

Second, older adults often face isolation and loneliness which can lead to serious health risks. In addition to expanding Myerberg’s Tech-Hub, I want to look at ways to better connect older adults; and in particular how to leverage technology to prevent isolation.

Other priorities?
While continuing to build community in our general service area, we are also looking to help strengthen the neighborhoods of Central Park Heights, below Northern Parkway. We recently formed the Northwest Baltimore Partnership with LifeBridge Health and Park Heights Renaissance and together are looking at ways to bring in additional partners to develop this area. In particular, I see CHAI using its expertise to develop housing – particularly senior housing in this area—and renovating homes for sale.

Misconception about CHAI?
People think we are just a housing organization. But we are so much more. CHAI is involved in community organizing, we work with the schools and we support our aging community through programs that help older adults age in place, from the Weinberg Senior Living facilities to senior home repair programs in Northwest Baltimore to our village, Northwest Neighbors Connecting.

You grew up in Jewish Baltimore.
Yes, I went to Beth Tfiloh Day School and was bat mitzvahed at Beth El, attended Camp Louise, and went to Hebrew High School after my bat mitzvah. I have strong memories of the Jewish community growing up, one favorite event was the Walk for Israel.

Do you have a favorite Jewish holiday?
Passover. I really get into it. I make all the food and develop the Seder. Instead of using the Haggadah, I find readings and put them on notecards. Every year there is a different theme, which everyone has to come prepared to discuss. Past themes have included freedom, new beginnings, if you had to flee in a hurry what would you take.

Something people don’t know about you?
People are surprised when they find out I have five kids.

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