Introducing Yaffa Wagschal

Written by Rachel Kohn on . Posted in Young Professionals Spotlight

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Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Yaffa Wagschal is 32 years old and loves to travel: If money was no object, she said, she would wander in countries like Peru and Japan, “talk to local people, learn their stories to experience what it’s like to live in those places through their eyes.”

Yaffa lives in DC and is working in IT procurement while pursuing her MBA, which she expects to complete in December 2019.

What is one of your favorite things about your community?

I recently moved to Foggy Bottom, and the first time I went to services at Kesher Israel Congregation I was immediately invited to Shabbat lunch. I feel like there is a large enough community there, with a lot of accomplished people, that I am likely to meet someone new and learn something new every time I go. The rabbi at Kesher has been especially welcoming; and I enjoy his classes, which offer a mix of warmth and grounding in Jewish texts.

Can you capture an image from your travels in one sentence?

On a trip to Paris, I saw Sally Field and Steven Spielberg getting drinks at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Who inspires you?

My boss inspires me in the way she handles difficult situations with warmth, humor, and compassion. She always knows how to say just enough to let you know she’s into the same embarrassing things as you and can build rapport and find common ground. I aspire to be more like her.

A yoga teacher at my previous studio also really inspired me. Despite everything going on in her life, she was committed and consistent in her practice, which showed me that commitment and consistency are what you need to be able to expand and grow.

Finally, Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who I follow on LinkedIn. He highlights the counterintuitive traits that make the best leaders, and shares best practices on how to manage and lead at work. The way he combines Dilbert cartoons with organizational maxims is very relatable.

What was the last photo you took on your phone?

I recently went to Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. I have a picture of my friend and me in front of the house that shows the suspension over the waterfall and the stairs that lead down to the water. So beautiful.

What brings you joy?

The sweet anticipation from when you buy your tickets to when you board the flight or get in the car for the road trip.

Eating a soft serve cone with chocolate sprinkles on the boardwalk in Rehoboth, Delaware.

Watching movies under a fuzzy blanket; fresh clothes after a dip in the pool; the feeling going into shavasana after a yoga flow class and then putting on a fuzzy sweatshirt.

Not sure what that last one meant, but a fuzzy sweatshirt sounds good so I’ll take your word for it. Anything else?

There’s a path near work that I only recently discovered passes by a creek. It’s so wonderful to have hidden beautiful things right there for the taking. I love taking walks in nature near water that end in a spectacular view.

What is your favorite quote?

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” by Wayne Gretzky. This quote inspired me to apply for school, apply for that job, even if I’m not sure I’ll get it.

Also: “Computers are useless, they only give you answers,” by Pablo Picasso. This reminds me of the importance of asking good questions and being curious about what’s around me.

Interviewed by Rachel Kohn