Becca Groner is this year’s Sandy Averbuch Young Leadership award winner
Becca Groner moved to Nashville to pursue her dream of working in health care. In the six years since, she started the Nashville Moishe House, served as a leader for LGBTQ+ health at Vanderbilt Medical Center, helped children and their families access mental health care, taught Hebrew school for two years at West End Synagogue and strengthened the local Jewish community.
Originally from Westchester, New York, Becca earned her bachelor’s degree in public health at Brandeis University. She became involved with Venture for America, a nonprofit organization that matches recent college graduates with startups, which brought her to Nashville.
“I wasn’t sure where I’d move after college, but I knew I wanted, in general, a smaller city…” Becca said. “I knew I wanted to be in health care and Nashville had a lot of health care opportunities, and it just so happened that this job worked out in Nashville.”
Becca is now the product lead for a telehealth platform called Little Otter, which provides therapy for children up to age 14 and their families.
“I’ve always been really interested in [mental health] actually,” Becca said, adding that she has helped thousands of families. “...It’s really exciting to get to help other people work on problems that they’re going through through technology and making mental health more accessible.”
The Little Otter team, based in San Francisco, offers services other than therapy as well: parenting support, psychiatry, psychiatric medicine and management, Becca said. Outside of her professional career, Becca strives to build Jewish community. In 2021, she was among the three women who started Nashville Moishe House, a peer-led organization that serves as a hub for young Jewish adults.
“[Moishe House] is a co-op to encourage Jewish living and gather 20-somethings in Nashville who are in the Jewish community,” Becca said, adding that she organized five events per month as a community leader. “I really got to know people in the community that I hadn’t met yet and bring people into our community.”
The Moishe House organization aims to bridge the gap between college life and traditional, family-based Jewish customs. Becca was initially involved in Moishe House Without Walls, which is a similar concept, but events are held in different locations. The creation of a physical Moishe House, located in Cleveland Park in East Nashville, was especially impactful due to the smaller Jewish presence in the city’s eastern region, she said.
“Becca earned the [Sandy Averbuch young leadership] award through her efforts to establish our local Moishe,” said Deborah Oleshansky, the community relations director at Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville. “Moishe House Nashville would not exist without her commitment, dedication and perseverance.”
In addition to her involvement in the Jewish community, Becca has spoken at the Nashville city council to advocate for a more walkable and accessible city. She also serves as community advisor on the Vanderbilt Medical Center’s LGBT health board, pushing for equity in health care, informing members of the LGBTQ+ community about where they can receive care and providing resources to transgender folks about gender-affirming care.
“I bring a perspective of being a queer person to make sure that my voice and the voice of my fellow community members is heard so they are getting care with dignity and respect,” Becca said.
Looking forward, Becca said she wants to continue to make progress in her product management career and help families through technology. She does not envision slowing down anytime soon.
“I want to keep being engaged in all the communities now,” Becca said. “I just want to support every group I can by showing up and giving my continued support as a community member.”
The Sandy Averbuch young leadership award will be presented at the 87th annual meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville on June 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Gordon Jewish Community Center Pargh Auditorium.