Blair Kaplan Venables – RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience


I walked away from a high-paying client due to antisemitism right at the beginning of the pandemic, as the world was shutting down.

As a proud Jewish woman, I always believed I’d be shielded from the harsh reality of blatant antisemitism. Yet, there I was, facing it head-on and feeling isolated when I reached out for support.

From my earliest days at Hebrew school, I was immersed in the stories of our past, from the Holocaust to World War II, absorbing the resilience of my people. Anne Frank’s story, in particular, left a lasting impression on me, instilling a deep sense of vigilance. It may sound extreme, but I grew up with a keen awareness of where to hide should the unthinkable ever happen. This level of caution, I’ve found, isn’t uncommon among us.

Living in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and attending Hebrew school insulated me from overt antisemitism. At most, I encountered stereotypes, which I didn’t hesitate to correct and educate on. But growing up, I did face subtle microaggressions and comments about “looking Jewish” that hinted at deeper prejudices. Note: I am of Eastern European descent, and you can’t “look” like a religion. 

My career eventually took me to a beautiful mountain town in British Columbia, where I worked with a diverse, highly educated team helping clients launch their brands. It was a far cry from my sheltered upbringing, exposing me to a broader world yet also to its underlying biases.

A more recent incident shook me deeply. A colleague, under the guise of humor, made offensive jokes and comments about Jews. I tried to address it through education, hoping for understanding. However, the situation escalated when, during a discussion about a work trip to Germany, this person directed a “Hail Hitler” salute at me, laughing it off as a joke. The silence from everyone else was deafening.

With Holocaust Memorial Day looming, the gesture cut deeper, a stark reminder of the pain and suffering endured by my ancestors. I reported the incident, only to be met with gaslighting from my supervisor, who trivialized the antisemitism and made me feel like the problem. Deep down in my core, I knew that the colleague was in the wrong.

The lack of support and accountability left me feeling unsafe. I had to make a tough decision for my mental health and safety, choosing to leave behind a toxic environment where my concerns were dismissed and I wasn’t protected. This was a scary time because the world was on the brink of pandemic lockdowns, and my financial situation was precarious, but I had to do the right thing.  Though I sought legal advice, prioritizing my well-being meant walking away from a situation where I was blatantly disrespected and invalidated.

When faced with the need for resilience, I listened to my gut and knew what happened wasn’t right. I stood up for what I believed in and had faith that the universe would help take care of me. 

If I could leave you with one piece of advice if faced with a similar challenge, it would be to know your values. If you do and something happens that doesn’t align with them, walk away.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.