How we Discovered the Fascinating 70 year History of The Job Forum and our founder
From Holocaust Roots to the Bay Area to help job hunters
I’m Janet Beach. Since 1980 I have been a Job Forum volunteer, helping unemployed people find their next job via The Job Forum.
Quite a few years back now, I answered my office phone and heard a deep baritone voice say, “I’m Robert Ronald. I believe I am the person who started The Job Forum organization that you now run.”
This sounded very intriguing….and was surprising to me.
At The Job Forum, we had not- at that point- known who really was the originator of The Job Forum. (We had known plenty of volunteers who kept The Job Forum going and who work tirelessly to help those who are out of work.)
Robert was persuasive with details of the Job Forum start-up tale and about his long-time interest in helping people who are out of work. He commented about the importance of one’s job for a satisfying and useful life.
After that first phone call, we met for lunch and Robert told me some of his life story.
He described his harrowing escape as a young Jewish boy, fleeing, along with his family, from Germany and the Holocaust. He painted the picture of how they emigrated to France and all the dangers there and then their good fortune in getting to go on to Cuba.
Later, he was able to make the journey to the USA and then went on to found a company here in the Bay Area.
That first day, Robert brought with him to lunch, the original 1952 flyer of the very first Job Forum Meeting he created in San Francisco. That is a treasure!
The Job Forum organization was started when he was only 26 years old. The mission then, as it still is today, was to help people here in the Bay Area, who were searching for work, unemployed or had to change careers.
Robert’s insight was this:
In order to get jobs, people first need to meet people, get their advice and benefit from their referrals into local companies!
Robert Ronald, when age 26, organized The Job Forum to meet that need!
In 1952, for that very first Job Forum meeting, volunteers began helping job hunters. Robert invited managers to be the advisors who were from Pacific Telephone and Telegraph, Standard Oil, The Emporium Department Store and the Guy Atkinson company, a national highway and bridge construction company.
By his insight and inspiring effort, Robert had set up The Job Forum which still today answers a compelling societal need!
Now, so many decades later, and at the first meeting with me, Robert said he was quite startled and very delighted to hear about The Job Forum on the Ron Owens radio show on KGO Radio.
I was one frequent guest on KGO, doing “ real time” job search advice over the radio to job hunters who called in and got advice on-air.
On KGO, we invited job hunters from around the San Francisco Bay Area to come to The Job Forum meetings in order to meet Bay Area managers who are willing to help job hunters with job search.
KGO was a great way to “get the word out” about The Job Forum that was available to help the unemployed or the miserable with services to get a new job.
Robert said that when he heard that KGO radio discussion, he instantly and excitedly knew that “yes, this must be the organization”, the one he had founded decades before!
That first lunch began a warm friendship and partnership with Trish and Robert Ronald where they attended Job Forum Events and met many of the Job Forum longtime volunteer advisors and leaders. (including Tom Toy, Penni Hudis, Brent Green, Roger Brooks, Bill Pollak, and more).
A decade ago Robert and Trish made a donation that allowed The Job Forum non-profit to continue our work helping those who need this service because they are out of work.
Nobody running The Job Forum is paid. (We do have one part timer as our assistant). We run the non-profit by volunteering but of course any nonprofit needs an operating budget to function!
The Job Forum needs support and donations to continue our Bay Area valuable service to help job hunters get back to work! Please donate!
Robert Ronald was an innovative leader and insightful man who was proud to have created The Job Forum.
He always referred to the Job Forum organization as “His Legacy” He was so happy and gratified that his effort back so many years earlier, is still helping people who so urgently need help so many decades and thousands of job hunters later!!
The job hunters who come to the weekly Job Forum sessions, come to the SF Bay Area looking for jobs from around 27 countries, or have just moved here from 16 cities around the US and also include Bay Area people who are local job hunters who come from every local Bay Area community.
We now meet via weekly zoom webinars. The Job Forum has more than 100 managers ready to advise and help and brainstorm and make referrals to help those who are out of work. The job hunters usually know nobody here in the Bay Area or know nobody in the field in which they want to get work. They need to meet people who can help them in a variety of concrete ways to speed up their journey to employment.
At The Job Forum they meet managers from a broad range local companies who volunteer as advisors and who actively help them during the meetings and in follow up sessions.
Robert created a wonderful organization that certainly adds to the SF Bay Area quality of life. The Job Forum helps people when they are most needy and discouraged and urgently need to land the next job!
Most people do not know that, nowadays, Job search is 50 times harder and more complex than it used to be back when Robert Ronald was creating The Job Forum or whenever you last got started on your own job search.
As Robert would say, it is better that we teach people to fish rather than only give them a fish!
This year Robert Ronald passed away at age 96.
We have launched the Robert Ronald Job Forum Memorial Fund to honor him and continue the good work.
Robert’s life is a remarkable life! We count ourselves fortunate to have known Robert!
Robert‘s insight and founding of The Job Forum has resulted in 70 years of the Job Forum helping job hunters.
We hope we can continue The Job Forum as a way to help those who so need help getting work and we honor Robert Ronald, The Job Forum founder by doing so!
Help by making your donations to the 501c3 nonprofit in order to continue The Job Forum for future decades serving job hunters here in San Francisco Bay Area. Donate here.
Chairman and Executive Director of The Job Forum and volunteer