Yovav Gavish was introduced to business at a young age, following his father around to business meetings in Israel, where he gradually found a love for business and finance. Since then, Gavish grew up to work in professional roles with major Israeli defense companies and serve as a member of the World Bank Group where he represented Israel, and he recently became an investor with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
What are your responsibilities as an investor for the IFC?
Just recently, I transitioned from being a board member at the World Bank Group to leading investments in venture capital funds and directly in companies in their growth stages. We invest across all sectors of the economy globally, with the focus on climate tech, FinTech [financial tech] and health tech. And my expertise is investing in companies and funds in Israel through my network.
What was your career path that led you to this role?
I was a board member [at the World Bank] for five years, at a relatively young age … and prior to that, I was with the Israeli Government Companies Authority, which is basically the holding entity of all the Israeli state-owned companies. From a relatively young age, I was exposed to business. I was accompanying my father to different board meetings, different business meetings, and that was kind of the thing that got me really interested in the business world and also in leading large projects and into finance … Then after doing some consulting, I went into the Israeli Ministry of Finance. I had an opportunity there to lead the defense industries sector at a very, very young age. I was at the boards of all the largest Israeli defense companies.
How were you successful in your roles at such a young age?
It very much depends on how hard you work. I was the first to be in the office in the morning. I was the last person to leave the office at night. I think hard work, ethics and being on top of everything are important. I think interpersonal skills as well, working with others. I think everything is all about people. I really believe in that.
What does your life look like outside of work?
I try to spend as much time as possible, the little time that I have, with my wife and two kids – I have nine-year-old and six-year-old boys. We like to travel and go hiking. I really like doing all these activities with the kids. I do that a lot, as much as possible. On the weekends, I try to volunteer in the community as much as I can … I am very, very involved in all the activities related to Israel. I’m part of the leadership team of our group of 400 people that are doing many initiatives here around the area. My daily routine is waking up at 5:00-5:30 a.m. every morning and going to the gym and doing my goals for the day, every day.
What type of initiatives are you involved with regarding Israel?
We’re increasing the Israel-related support in the public sphere. We’re organizing rallies in the D.C. area in universities. Recently, we were at George Mason University, demonstrating our support for Israel and calling for the release of the hostages. We were there working with the Hillel rabbi and with some students in the university and also kind of demonstrating our support for the Jewish students that are struggling now with the antisemitism.
How does your Jewish identity play a role in your daily life?
I think on the deepest level, what I do today is kind of how I demonstrate my tikkun olam values of how we do, what we do, in order to repair the world or make the world a better place through addressing climate change and other global challenges. Since I came to the U.S. over six years ago, I think I really discovered the amazing Jewish community in Boston and now in the D.C. area. And for me it was life-changing, to know the Jewish community. As an Israeli who was not exposed to the diversity and the diversity of religion in the community in the U.S., it was an eye-opener for me, and I think that we should do a ‘reverse Birthright’ for Israelis to come to the U.S. and see the Jewish communities in the U.S. because it’s really powerful.