Monica Auslander Moreno
Emma Rosman, a BBG in NRE: Northern Virginia and BBYO’s third International Gizborit, sat down with Miami Region alumna Monica Auslander Moreno to explore the impact of her involvement in BBYO and her professional role today as the Founder of Essence Nutrition in Miami, FL.
Emma: Hi, Monica! Thank you for speaking with me for BBYO’s Alumni Spotlight. So what was your involvement in BBYO as a teen?
Monica: I got involved my sophomore year because a friend recommended BBYO to me, and I made some of my lifelong friends whom I speak to every single day of my life now.
Emma: Where do you live now, and what do you do as an adult?
Monica: I am a registered dietician and own a private practice in Miami, FL.
Emma: Awesome. What led you down that path – and how have your experiences in BBYO impacted you in adulthood?
Monica: Well, Honor Societies and organizations in school were small – this was something so much bigger, and international, and it really inspired me to connect with others on a global level. Remember, this is before Facebook! I thought Jews were only in Miami, LA, and New York, so when I went to Atlanta for IC and connected with Jews there, and then met a Jewish friend from Bulgaria, it blew my mind. As someone who now connects internationally every single day with people, it laid a really nice groundwork to connect with people from different countries and from different cultures. My job is definitely interacting with people who have different ideas than I do, and it got me very comfortable with what that’s like.
Emma: I totally agree. Those experiences, working with and meeting people from around the world and specifically Jews – it’s a realization so many teens have when they’re in BBYO. What were some of the highlights from your time in BBYO?
Monica: I really treasured the travel aspect. I didn’t even go to Israel – I just went to Atlanta and Orlando! But it was very exciting to me and I was very impressed by everyone else, who was so professional and mature and not really governed by adults at all, and put on these enormous, elaborate ceremonies and elections and experiences largely by ourselves. I was like – are other 16-year-olds doing this?! It inspired me. Adolescents get pigeon-holed, “you’re only 17, you can’t lead do X, you can’t lead a convention” – you can, though! I really loved travelling and connecting with all these other teenagers who were so impressive, and so passionate and committed. These are relationships that I still cultivate and rely upon, 17 years later.
Emma: I would totally agree. And the whole travel aspect is a little different this year, but through BBYO On Demand, our platform we use to hold calls all around the world in BBYO, we’ve been able to kind of warp and utilize it to make “travel” an aspect of BBYO even if it doesn’t mean we’re packing our bags and getting on a plane. It’s really cool, and something I didn’t think we’d be able to pull off, but it’s really exciting and still a prominent part of BBYO, being able to interact with so many different people.
Monica: It’s really cool. It’s so massive and so impressive, especially with the added benefit of technology and how you use it to organize yourselves. It’s just so cool and I’m really flummoxed at how much it’s still very much alive and even bigger and better.
Emma: For sure! So, if you could share one piece of advice with BBYO teens, what would it be?
Monica: The thing about BBYOers is we tend to be really organized and passionate and ambitious, and that’s amazing. But it can also be an Achilles heel – you plan things, and then you get upset and destabilized when things don’t go according to your plan. So, while we will never be disorganized and underprepared because that’s not who we are – go with the flow. Don’t give up on your dreams, but things are going to change and just accept them, because if you roll against the grain, you’ll drive yourself nuts.
Emma: Especially this year, the ability to be adaptive to any situation is the most valuable skill you could hold for this time, and for the future. That’s something I’ve learned over the past few months. So I would second that, and I think that’s what BBYO is trying to enforce in these teens who are losing hope because they’re not in school – BBYO is like, we’re here and we’re better than ever and we’re still going up. That energy is very refreshing for so many teens.
Monica: Yup, and it’s going to keep everyone grounded and connected at a time when you can’t be hugging your best friends every Saturday night.
Emma: Totally. Thank you, Monica, for your time and for being in our Alumni Spotlight! We loved having you.
Monica: Thank you!