Who The Folk?! Amelia Gavurin

Hopefully, you’ve gotten to read Amelia Gavurin’s fantastically funny takes on moving to Minnesota out of the blue and her first trip to the State Fair. (And if not, what are you waiting for? Go read and come back. We’ll wait for you). Now she starts a new role: As Jewfolk’s newest employee! Amelia starts today as the Director of Corporate and Community Engagement, helping to serve the engagement needs of the Minnesota Jewish community. Amelia talks about her lack of shyness, her love of food, and what she does in her spare time in this week’s Who The Folk?!

Welcome aboard! We’re very excited.

I’m double in now!

Yes, not just writing but working here too. You came to Minnesota and started working on an organic vegetable farm. This is quite the departure.

This is a bit of a departure because it’s not working outside with vegetables. But it’s not that different from what I was doing in college. I was really involved in a club called Spring Fair, which put on a huge event for students. It was student run and it was all volunteer based, which was kind of like its own non-profit. I was super-involved all four years and went on to be the co-chair of it my senior year. I enjoyed setting it up and working with the administration, and the Baltimore community, and vendors. I really enjoyed all of it and I’m excited that I have a job that’s a little similar to that in that way. It’s just different. I have multiple loves: I like farming, I like planning things, I like business work. I can do it all. Lean in!

Spring Fair was a lot about connecting people, which is what this job is going to be. It’s all about being able to go and talk to anyone and definitely not being shy. No introverts here.

That doesn’t sound hard for you given that you wrote me out of the blue saying you should write for us.

At a young age, I just got over the nervousness for rejection. One moment: I remember my freshman year of high school, I asked a boy to homecoming. That broke it. If I can do this, if I can go ask a boy, my freshman year, to homecoming, the worst he could say was no. There is no point in not putting yourself out there in anyway. Really, what’s the worst that could happen?

You’ve gotten yourself slowly into the Jewish community here. This will be an immersive dive.

Yes, it will be. I’ve been wading in very slowly. I’m not too worried about it. I know it can be a lot, but it can’t be that different than meeting my boyfriend’s parents at a wedding. It was everyone all at once. That’s the metaphor I’m using for this. I’m just going to show up and meet everyone in one fell swoop and then be pretty tired for a little bit.

That’s an amazingly optimistic way of looking at things.

I have to be pretty optimistic otherwise I’d just lay in bed. It’s funny because I don’t consider myself super optimistic, but I don’t want to cut myself off from any opportunities. I just have to have the mindset that I’m going to do it.

What are your hobbies?

I’ve been kickboxing 3 or 4 times a week. I used to run but knees are gone at the tender age of 23. I ran through high school, through college. I did two half-marathons, I did the Twin Cities Marathon my first fall here, and then I just could not, motivation wise, my knees couldn’t do it anymore. I want to get into yoga but I don’t have the zen patience for it. I like the social interaction part of kickboxing. It’s funny because the part of running I liked was not to talk to anyone. Now that I really don’t have all the social interaction I did in college, it’s nice to go to a class with a lot of other people. We’ll see if that changes with the new job. Maybe I’ll take up running again.

I read. I cook a lot. I just got a pasta maker so I’m into experimenting with all the different pasta shapes which is really fun. I used to bake a lot but my boyfriend isn’t into sweets and I feel weird baking a cake for myself. It would be a lot of sweets just for me to consume on my own. Which I could do, but that is partly the problem.

Hence all the kickboxing classes.

That’s exactly why I need fitness in my life because food is so important.

What are you looking forward to the most about working for Jewfolk?

I’m looking forward to helping people who maybe are in or going to be in the same situations as I’m in. Young professionals who have no idea what to do and don’t have the chutzpah that I do to send out e-mails. It’s really hard. It’ll be nice to help people and really understand where they are coming from when they say they are looking for certain things, because I 100 percent get it.

You’re uniquely positioned for it because you have the recent experience.

I feel like in this situation, a 20-something will see someone their age who gets it, who isn’t a Minnesotan who already has a million friends and a has community. I can say “trust me. Let me tell you how hard it is” I think that will be really rewarding, which is nice. I like jobs that feel good. Hence farming.

Favorite Jewish food?

I don’t know if it’s Jewish, but Hummus is really good.

It is. We’ll accept that. Favorite Jewish holiday?

Yom Kippur. I like it because it’s a very genuine holiday. It’s a really good time to reflect. A lot of holidays are hyped up and not about anything. It’s very authentic and very unique. When you explain it to almost any person of any religion, it makes sense.

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About Lonny Goldsmith

Lonny Goldsmith is the editor of TC Jewfolk and Director of Communications for Jewfolk Media. He's an award-winning journalist who is involved in his third Jewish community after growing up in Michigan and spending a three-year stint in Chicago. He likes to write, cook and drink really good beer. He can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @lonny_goldsmith

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