Michal Grayevsky
Michal Grayevsky is conquering America
You may not know the name Michal Grayevsky, but there are very few Israelis who are more dominant than her in the New York media industry. The senior adviser to the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder, is a success story.
Michal Grayevsky is one of the dominant Israeli women in the New York media industry, even if you haven't really heard of her until now. After 15 years as an investigative journalist at Yedioth Ahronoth, years as a senior chairman at Channel 10, and her work now as the senior advisor to businessman and philanthropist Ron Lauder, Grayevsky is conquering America.



As part of her job for Lauder, she serves as vice chairman of RSL Management Corporation. Since 2010, she has also been serving as the president of JCS Jerusalem Capital Studios, the leading company in its field, which has established ties with dozens of foreign television stations around the world and established the JCS International branch in New York.


In addition to all of this, Michal is also a board member in some of the world's most recognized organizations. "This I do for my soul," she emphasizes.


Michal Grayevsky
Michal Grayevsky


She uses her professional relationship with Lauder to bolster the ties between Israel and the US, among other things.


"Today, beyond the fact that I am a senior advisor to Ron Lauder—the president of the World Jewish Congress and CEO of Clinique, one of the richest people in the world and the owner of the global cosmetics concern Esti Lauder—behind the scenes I manage for Mr. Lauder everything related to the strategic moves in the ties between Israel and the US. My team is responsible for writing his speeches, formulating and planning priorities, planning and strategy, and presenting the Israel-related issues in the media in consultation with Mr. Lauder," she explains.


"There are a lot of nuances in the Israeli media, and the WJC president's involvement is necessary, so my team brings to his attention what is essential and important to him," she adds.


"Every day, we examine any relevant information in the electronic, digital and social media channels—where all of the relevant discourse takes place in Israel in particular and in the Middle East in general—along with everything that is published in major channels in Europe and the United States. The World Jewish Congress focuses on the fight against anti-Semitism, but we are also dealing with the Israeli and Jewish issues and their significance vis-a-vis the US government. The Israel-US ties are our top priority.


"During Obama's time in office, there was some disconnect between Israel, the Jews here, and the administration in Washington. At the request of Mr. Lauder, we began to work energetically, to tighten and strengthen the relationship between Israel and the United States. We believed in Mr. Lauder's vision of strengthening both Israel and the United States, and his vision became my mission and that of my team, and since it became a way of life."


Grayevsky, who holds a master's degree in Mass Communication and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, says that PR begins with a deep and educated acquaintance of all sides of the equation.


"I came here with a lot of knowledge and experience of both the Israeli and international aspects. After my work at Channel 10, I went to study public and management leadership at Harvard, where I learned about the language, the culture and the public activity in America," she says.


"After learning how to conduct myself when dealing with US authorities, the administration, I realized how sensitive the culture and the nuances are, and I realized how wrong we are in Israel with our attitude," she goes on to say.


Grayevsky stresses that "As Israelis, we often hear but we do not listen. One can achieve so much with listening. If you listen to others, others will listen to you, no matter who you are. We need to know what we want to achieve, rather than feel like we deserve everything. With hard work, you will reach all your goals and won't lose your values in the way."


"Mr. Lauder is constantly calling for positive PR and I realized what he means," she continues. "For decades, the Arab world has been doing good PR, because it has learned from American and European PR, and we have been the backward ones."


"How did Benjamin Netanyahu become such a successful communicator? By speaking not only English, but the sharp nuances of the global community. When one attends the most prestigious leading institutions in the world, you know you should be on the offensive, you should listen to leaders, understand diplomacy, and develop public relations skills for your country," she explains.


In this context, Grayevsky tells of a very productive work during President Obama's presidency—though she refuses to reveal the details—and says that Israel's relations may be better with the current administration, but even in the previous administration she was able to lead to the opening of communication channels and achievements that cannot be detailed. "A good strategic consultant is a discreet one," she adds. "He does boast of what he does."


In addition to all of her other roles, Michal also serves as the president of JCS International and is currently leading the company. She is also the deputy chairman of the Lauder Employment Center, working to create jobs for hundreds of employees in southern Israel,


More so, she is a director in the RAND Center for Public Policy in the Middle East, and has committed to award every year over the coming decade a prize on global peace to three young creators in conjunction with the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (IEMMY).


Grayevsky with the late Israeli President Shimon Peres
Grayevsky with the late Israeli President Shimon Peres


These days, she says, she is writing a book on managing work with interns. She has been applying the strategy outlined in her book for years in her office here in New York, and her "Ten Commandments" for management and making connections accompany her at every step.


"I believe in the values of friendship, trustworthiness and justice, these are the basic things, that's how businesses is done, that's how human beings behave," she explains.


As part of working alongside Mr. Lauder, Grayevsky joined several of the oldest and most well-known institutions in the US.


"I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund, The International Academy of Television Arts & Science-IEMMY, The United Women for Peace Association (UNWFPA). As part of my membership in the UNWFPA, which is connected to the UN and operates under its auspices, I am the only Israeli with an Israeli passport, of course, who has ever been a member of an NGO team at the UN," she says.


As part of her work with these organizations and groups, Grayevsky focuses on projects to promote underdeveloped communities, women's status and the protection of women, alongside the promotion of "world peace."


On her way to the top, Grayevsky went through quite a few stations. She was born in Jerusalem and dreamed of becoming a doctor after, at the age of five, she witness her father suffering cardiac arrest and losing his life, with her by his side.


"I remember it as if it were yesterday," she says. "It fills me with compassion, with the sensitivity I have to this day."


After starting her first steps to medicine with pre-med studies, she quickly realized this was a difficult career with many challenges she could not cope with. And so she turned to the media.



She joined Yedioth Ahronoth's investigative journalists team and her reputation preceded her after exposing issues such as the ID cards trade in east Jerusalem ("I spent six months wandering around east Jerusalem"), Minister Aryeh Deri's second corruption affair, Sara Netanyahu and the shoes affair, and sexual misconduct allegations against minister Yitzhak Mordechai.


"I did my job professionally and saw nothing but my work," she insists. "Over the years, I have encountered Sara Netanyahu, (Ehud) Olmert and (Avraham) Hirschson (the former finance minister). I exposed stories about them, and there is no bad blood (between us). People knew that was my job and I did it as well as possible, quietly. I reached stories because I am professional and therefore I did not make too much noise. They always knew I had no interests and I could not be bought, so the relations are good. I did not have a personal vendetta, I'm very clean in my heart and people understand this."


As a woman, she never felt the need to apologize, or to earn less, even when it was not seen as obvious.


"I always did everything on my own," she admits. "I was the first to get to a press conferences and the last to leave. I brought the best stories because I protected my sources. I'm thorough, professional and I do not like the term 'feminist.' I believe that every woman can succeed. I always fought for my salary and my rights, Wherever I was. That is why I say we always have to talk about these things."


In 2008, she moved to her next target, channel 10. The goal at first was to produce a prestigious investigative journalism program, but the closer her ties with Mr. Lauder became, she took on senior management positions in the organization. As the chairman of Channel 10's finance committee and the chairman of news site Nana 10, she worked for the survival and the success of the channel. "The experience was amazing, I fought for Channel 10," she says.


Her close associates say that she was the one who tried years ago to lead the merger between Reshet and Channel 10, and when the channel was facing closure, she protested with the workers, staying outside the Finance Ministry for an entire night in her Manolo Blahnik shoes.


After the channel was sold, when it was clear to her she had no interest in going back, but rather reinvent herself again, the new target was America.


"I really like to learn, I like to do new things. I had a lot of offers. At first, the goal was Washington," she says.


As the president of JCS International, she developed quite a few connections in the American capital and could see herself developing a new type of studios in DC, but then she received an interesting offer from Lauder.


"When I studied at Harvard, he asked me to deal with everything related to Israel-US relations, somewhere in 2014, and when I finished my studies, I went on to do this full-time in New York," she says.


While her two children, Noa and Shai, joined her, she still misses Israel, but her roots are also strong in the US.


Now, she says, her biggest goal is to "marry the two: finish the book and continue, through all of the many channels I'm leading, to make the world better."


פרסום ראשון: 07.24.18, 11:45
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