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BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016 37 Talyah Sands feels fortunate to be part of a generation of women who grew up with so many options both personally and professionally. You can be who you want and have the career you want she says. For Sands 26 that career path led her into the public health arena. Born and raised in Scottsdale Sands attended University of Michigan where she earned a bachelors degree in psychosocial health with a minor in gender and health and continued on for a master of public health degree. While searching for an internship during graduate school Sands landed a position in tobacco control and alcohol management. I was tasked with working on the campus smoking policy she says. I realized then that I was really passionate about addiction and tobacco control as a public health issue. After graduating Sands secured a tailor-made job at the American Lung Association in Arizona as a program manager for the organizations Smoke-Free Multi-Family Housing Program working with apartment managers to adopt smoke- free policies on their properties. Once adopted the American Lung Association provides technical assistance to help those properties implement the policies. Its a movement thats been sweeping the nation and we have a lot of growth in our smoke-free policies here in Arizona she says. In addition to her work with the American Lung Association Sands served as a Youth Activism Fellow of the American Legacy Foundation which enabled her to participate in tobacco-control training and leadership development. While Sands has passion for her work she also has an anity for Jewish causes. Growing up at Temple Chai she participated in conrmation Hebrew High and North American Federation of Temple Youth NFTY. She also traveled to Israel during high school with NFTY in Israel. As a young professional moving back to the Valley after college in 2012 Sands wanted to nd her place in the Jewish community. It was time to gure out what Judaism meant to me and how I wanted to practice she says. In the summer of 2014 a friend invited her to attend an informal JNFuture planning meeting. JNFuture is Jewish BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016 37BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016 37 by marilyn hawkes photo by ken brown photography Sands National Funds leadership program for young adults. After learning about the organizations diverse eorts toward making Israel a stronger and more vibrant country she signed on to plan the groups kicko event and became board chair. I felt like JNF was the best way I could contribute to ensure that we have a homeland that is strong and thriving she says. Now in her second year as board chair Sands is pleased at the success and growth of the organization which boasts more than 80 members in their 20s and 30s. It has been a busy couple of years for Sands who is also in her second year as a fellow of Valley Beit Midrashs Start Me Up fellowship program for young Jewish leaders. She enjoys the groups monthly educational opportunities to examine Jewish values and learn about leadership and community building with VBM president and dean Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz and guest lecturers. Each Start Me Up participant must develop an initiative to create innovative programs that will enrich the greater Jewish community. Sands is working on her initiative in concert with another Start Me Up participant Erin Searle director of NowGen programs for Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. Were trying to form something that we can give back to the community to really encourage and promote young adult engagement and leadership on boards and in our community institutions she says. Sands is a committed leader not only in the Jewish community but also in the greater community through her work as a public health professional. When I think about my career and what Im doing with my life I cant really imagine ... doing something where I wasnt giving back or helping people she says. Thats a really important factor for me in work or in whatever Im doing. sands talyah.indd 37 12216 1105 AM