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Professional Staff

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Ari Dubin

Executive Diirector​

Ari Dubin began working as Executive Director of Vanderbilt Hillel in July 2005. Originally from Houston, TX Ari received his BA in Psychology from American Jewish University and M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from University of Texas. Before coming to Vanderbilt Hillel, Ari was the Assistant Director of Duke Hillel, the Youth and Camping Director at the JCC in San Antonio and Director of Teen Services at MetroWest JCC. Ari and his wife, Abbie, have two daughters Davi and Emmie.

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Veronica Grady

Assistant Director

Originally from Land ‘O Lakes, Florida, Veronica is thrilled to have been part of the Vanderbilt Hillel team since 2019. She graduated from Syracuse University where she earned a BA in Public Relations and minored in Jewish Studies. From her beginnings as a Springboard Innovations Fellow at Vanderbilt Hillel, Veronica has striven to create dynamic opportunities for students to explore their Jewish identity, and gives them the space and tools to discover a practice that will resonate with them long after their time as a student comes to a close. Outside of work, Veronica loves to hike, is a regular at Nashville’s many farmers markets and used book stores, and loves to spend a sunny afternoon hanging outside with her cat, Sharky.

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Ari Hoffman

Special Projects Coordinator

Coming back down south after a cold stay in Massachusetts, Ari joined the Vanderbilt Hillel team in the Fall 2022 semester. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ari grew up going to Jewish Summer Camp, NFTY, and then continued this passion for his Jewish community in college through Hillel. This included his own Hillel at Clark University and creating Zoom University Hillel while in quarantine. After graduating with a degree in Public Administration, he is excited to continue these experiences by engaging and inspiring other Jewish students to get involved with Hillel at Vanderbilt. While not working, Ari enjoys being creative through drawing, playing music, or cooking up something new to share with friends. 

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Shannon Small

Development Director

Shannon has focused her career on mental health, working as a clinical visitation worker for the Salvation Army, Jewish education, serving as Education Director simultaneously for Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School and the Syracuse Community Hebrew School, and fundraising and planned giving in her last position as the Assistant FRD Director and Foundation Director for the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Shannon, in her limited free time, watches all kinds of Netflix shows (especially stand-up comedy specials). She loves to travel, read books written by TED presenters, and exercises regularly. Originally from Sugarland, TX, a suburb of Houston, Shannon is married to Brian Small, who she met in graduate school at Syracuse University. Brian and Shannon are blessed with two children, Danielle and Ari and their beloved dog Theo.

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Malka Desale

Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow

After starting in August 2023, Malka Desale joined the Vanderbilt Hillel staff as the Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow. Malka was born and raised in Holon, Israel. She served in Magal unit as a commander, a  department Sergeant in Nathanim base, and trained soldiers at the beginning of their miletary service in IDF. Malka has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy. She was a social activism intern at Act.IL, using public diplomacy and nation branding for Israel through online campaigns and social platforms. Malka has five siblings (brothers) and like to volunteer, travel and loves music.

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Bar Segev

Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow

Bar Segev is thrilled to be working on the Vanderbilt Hillel team as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow. Born and raised in Jerusalem, she grew up Israel's Reform movement and enjoyed spending time as a teen and an adult professional in Telem. Her previous roles as a youth movement coordinator, NFTY professional, and tour guide and companion for groups of Jews from around the world to Israel have prepared her for this next step in her career as an informal educator. During her army service, Bar was honored to represent the Navy as a guide at the National Memorial Hall in Mount Herzl. She is most excited to meet new students and community members in Nashville, take advantage of Music City's many concerts, and spend time enjoying the city's surrounding lakes and rivers where she plans to kayak!

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Carly Payne

Intrapreneur Springboard Fellow

Carly Payne grew up in Fairport, New York, a small village located far more upstate than you are imagining. Eager to leave rural NY Carly traveled to the University of Miami (UM) to complete a degree in Political Science and Journalism. At UM, for the first time in her life, Carly reconnected with her faith and embraced this part of her identity. After completing her Birthright and going on to do Onward Carly finally had a strong Jewish community in her life. Carly was heavily involved on campus during her undergraduate. Carly worked in the department of Student Activities and Student Organizations as the Chair of the Committee on Student Organizations to help students find their community on campus and oversee the yearly activities of over 300 student organizations. Through this rewarding work Carly concluded that she would like to pursue a career in higher education administration. The Springboard Fellowship program enables Carly to start her career working on a college campus while giving back to the Jewish community which has given her so much. Beyond her work Carly enjoys dabbling in painting, comedy and fitness.

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Valerie Landa

Finance Director 

Valerie Landa is the Finance Director for Vanderbilt Hillel and is responsible for managing the financial operations of the organization.  She has over 18 years of tax and accounting experience in both public accounting and private industry.  Valerie graduated with a Bachelor in Professional Accounting from Mississippi State University and a Master of Accounting with a Tax Concentration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Valerie began her career at Arthur Andersen where she worked in the tax department.  She has also worked at Kraft CPAs, Caterpillar Financial, and Kraft & Company, PLLC.  Valerie is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Tennessee Society of CPAs.

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