The Power Of ‘Chutzpah’ In Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Inbal Arieli,
Founder & CEO, Synthesis; Author, Chutzpah Center; Investor

An adventurous childhood

Inbal is the youngest of 3 siblings, born into a regular Israeli family - but from the age of 4 she began moving with her family back and forth to Europe, each 4 years were a new stage and a fresh start. Moving from one place to the other forced her to meet new people and incorporate herself into different cultures. It sparked her interest and passion for different types of people, and still to this day she has friends from each stage of her life -

“It’s either you really enjoy it or you really don’t - it’s a struggle anyway and it has its highs and its lows, but for me it was a very positive experience”.

She returned to Israel around the age of 15 and decided to no longer join her family in their moving adventures. At the age of 18 she moved to Tel Aviv and made it ‘her city’ till this day.

A lot of responsibility at a young age

She served in 8200, where she was in a professional intelligence position for almost 5 years. She had a lot of responsibility at a young age, managing a team -

“I faced unbelievable challenges, sometimes successfully and sometimes less successfully, but when you're 18-20 and you get a lot of accountability and are a part of something much bigger than yourself - it’s extremely formative.” 

Inbal shares that rather than the expertise itself, it was mostly the skills she honed in managing that shaped and helped her in the future.

After her service, she decided to take a different path and went to study Law & Economics, where it became clear to her that the business side is what interested her the most.

At that point, she knew she had good English and French, and with her international background, it all pointed towards international businesses.

Inbal shares about having great mentors in the first years of her career, like the Wertheimer family. As a young lawyer in their team, watching them handle and manage incredibly huge transactions, taught her a lot -

“If an organization is a body, you get to see from the inside all the different bones and muscles and how they're connected, and if I’m moving one part - what happens to the rest of the body.”

Another excellent mentor came from a completely different field - Sami Sagol, the CEO of Keter, which at the time was the 3rd plastic consumer product manufactured in the world. Again, she had the opportunity of watching and being a part of the IPO process, big transactions with the biggest retail players in the world, seeing how those companies handled themselves, the bits and bytes, was extremely informative for her. 

Fast forward to the present, everything she did connects to what she does today - everything led and built her towards her future. This is one of the things I (Gali) find most beautiful in life - when you look back and see that all the dots are connected, and in retrospect you can understand the choices you’ve made in the past that you couldn’t understand before - now everything is much more clear.

You make the role

“Instead of thinking about your role like lego bricks, where one simply connects next to the other but is formed in a specific way, it’s about being much more flexible, where the boundaries are less clear, and then the shape that the form actually takes at the end depends on you.”

After 10 years of her career, Inbal remembers a very meaningful conversation she had, where someone told her:

“Just like a bird that is under the wings of their mother/father bird, and ready to use their own wings only when they’re strong enough and ready, at one certain point you’ll be ready to get out of the wings of others and just fly. And then the sky's the limit.”

- That’s when she realized, she’s finally ready. 

When I asked Inbal how she got this inner confidence that she’s going in the right direction, she shared:

“I never have full confidence that I’m doing the right thing. I’m trying - I’m very very open to listening a lot before I take the next step, whatever it might be, and I’m  very open about what I’m doing so I can create the opportunity to hear other people. It doesn’t mean I do whatever I’m told, but I’m definitely receptive to other people’s observations, opinions and thoughts because it enriches the way I think.”

Still, she emphasizes the importance of having a strong inner center and a strong belief in yourself. It’s a balance between the confidence in your own abilities and the belief that the world has more things to offer that you might have not noticed.

Becoming an author

Inbal shares that she never had a dream to be an author, but she did like to tell stories. She did it in her lectures on stage, and she loved interacting with the audience and helping them change the way they think for the better.

In one big event, she was interviewed on stage and was asked mostly about her service and 8200, which for her was a really narrow perspective of the Israeli Tech, she knew it’s way more than just that -

“Something about the entrepreneurial roots are drawn from our childhood in Israel”.

Coming off stage, someone approached her and asked where they could read more about it. She had no idea. Then the second and the third came with the same question, and when the fifth came and asked her, she told him he’ll have to wait for the book she’s writing about it. She had a eureka moment -

“There is something interesting in this narrative that had not been told yet, that resonates with people who want a better understanding about the miracle that is the Israeli Tech.”

When I asked her about her aspirations for the future, she knew right away:

“My biggest dream for my round anniversary is this: I’m sitting just next to the pyramids in Egypt, with “Chutzpah” in an Arabic version. That’s my dream.”

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