40 over 40: Gil Galanos wants to do ‘something inspiring’

Gil Galanos is a natural leader. He’s led troops in the Israeli army, building camaraderie among the ranks. Five years ago he co-founded a nonprofit that empowers rising leaders to build a bridge between the Israeli and American communities. Working alongside Rafi Musher, founder and chairperson of Israel & Co, Galanos works to bring graduate students at prestigious U.S. universities to Israel. Trips are organized by field of study, whether its law, policy, or business. “I needed to do something inspiring,” says Galanos, a WeWork Times Square member. “Doing things yourself is great, but it can only get you so far. If you work with others, collaborate, and motivate them to help you get on board with a bigger mission and bigger impact, that’s even better.”

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“The most important thing about being an entrepreneur is to be resilient enough to meet with challenges and know that it’s going to pass, and you’re going to survive. Sometimes when there’s a big wave, you’re going to duck under and wait until it’s over.”

The purpose of the trips is to build rapport with students who will shape future leadership. “For us, it’s about starting a relationship,” says Galanos, “and hopefully, it’s long term.” The organization, which launched five years ago, has brought more than 7,700 students to Israel. “To know I’m doing something good for my people and humankind is something that drives me,” says Galanos. “I’m working with an amazing team of young and passionate people who share our mission.”

Photos: Katelyn Perry

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