The Lowdown: Helen Zalik
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The Lowdown: Helen Zalik

I Bet You Didn't Know...Helen Zalik is a social entrepreneur, attorney, and philanthropist.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Helen Zalik
Helen Zalik

Atlanta is chock full of interesting “movers and shakers” – some bent on creativity, empire building, activism, the sciences, and/or just plain having fun and living the good life. Lean in to hear some of the “off the cuff” remarks as to what makes our spotlight Helen Zalik tick.

Helen Zalik is a social entrepreneur, attorney, and philanthropist. In 2018, Helen co-founded The Zalik Foundation, which has granted over $100 million to date for education, children and families in need, behavioral mental health, and Jewish communities in the U.S and Israel.

Helen immigrated to the United States from Ukraine at age 11. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University School of Law. Zalik began her career as a corporate attorney at Powell Goldstein, LLP, and eventually served as general counsel of a privately held healthcare management company.

Zalik is a strong believer in the value of Jewish education and community, serving as the immediate past board president of Momentum Unlimited. She also co-founded Jewish Women’s Connection of Atlanta and currently serves on the boards of Jewish Federations of North America and Jewish Agency for Israel.

Helen Zalik resides in Atlanta with her husband, David, and their three daughters. Read on to learn what’s in the eponymous “Helen” cocktail.

The most useful thing I learned in law school was…
Speed reading! I learned how to quickly discern the heart of the matter, as well as the benefit of a well-articulated, clear bottom line.

One fun thing people don’t know about me is…
I was a competitive ballroom dancer in college – I placed in competitions, and Latin dances like salsa, samba, and merengue were my favorite.

My kids would say I am too…
Nice and too mean, too busy, and too around, too serious and too silly – basically, that I am an (oxy)moron.

You will not find me…
Too far away from my pickleball racquet. I am a little bit obsessed.

I’m streaming…
Several Jewish podcasts at all times. Top on my list is Rise & Shine with Adrienne Gold Davis, anything by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Charlie Harary, and many more.

My latest fashion disaster was…
Yesterday, last week, and honestly, pretty much every day. I deeply admire my friends who have impeccable taste, but sadly, I did not inherent that gene.

I would look back and tell a 21-year-old Helen…
Keep up the hard work. It’s all worth it!

The last time I cried…
While visiting an orphanage called Leiladeinu in Buenos Aires. They work to heal and restore the rights of Jewish children and teens dealing with abusive situations at home. I saw children filled with joy, being treated with the love and dignity they deserve. It was emotional and inspiring.

My idea of a fun night out is…
Anywhere with family, friends, great food, and dance music and involving my favorite signature drink, which I have called “The Helen” (tequila, Fresca, and bourbon-soaked cherries …). L’chaim!

Best advice you received…
Was in high school, from my mock trial coach: “If you don’t know, bluff…and bluff with confidence.”

Favorite vacation destination?
It’s always the next one! Exploring, learning, disconnecting from technology, and creating special memories with my family and friends – simply the best!

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