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Community Leadership Initiative

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We provide a dynamic, relevant curriculum that focuses on contemporary professional and personal topics grounded in the wisdom of our tradition.

Session 1: Orientation: What Is Jewish Leadership and Why Lead?

Sunday Seminar

Orientation: introduction to and overview of the program, review of goals and participants' responsibility.

What is Leadership?: A look at the personal and communal life of a leader, and how successful leadership within a Jewish organization may differ from the corporate or nonprofit paradigm.

Leadership Fundamentals: We examine the role that the organization’s mission statement plays, as well as ethics, transparency and collaboration among the members of its board of directors. Additionally, we address how we, as an Orthodox community, are creating a leadership space for women. Through team-building exercises, participants interact with one another and troubleshoot real issues facing today’s leaders.

Session 2: Strategic Planning for Complex Organizations

Strategic Planning: This live webcast addresses the benefits of strategic planning and utilizes useful tools such as S.W.O.T. analysis in forming a long-range plan. Participants are taught practical methodology for leading strategically and for developing a road map for success. This conversation continues via email exchange, as participants further explore ways to develop strategic plans for their communities.

Session 3: Organizational Growth

Growth: Effective leaders are always searching for ways to grow the base and impact of their organizations. In this webcast, participants learn innovative methods to stimulate growth in membership, programming and marketing. Participants also learn how to develop and implement a vision that will support momentum and excellence. Members of each community engage in an online discussion, focusing on their own organizations. Best practices are shared via LISTSERV with the members of all the various communities.

Session 4: Healthy Governance and Navigating Politics

I. Healthy Governance: Organizations have many complex layers of members, professionals and lay leaders. This session orients participants with the hierarchy and inner workings of an organization and the process of building consensus to attain goals.

II. Navigating Politics: Along the way, one must be prepared to navigate the waters of communal politics and cope with many diverse values, egos and personalities.

This seminar addresses the realities of communal politics and share practical strategies for healthy communication, conflict resolution and building trust and unity within an organization. Participants role-play real-life scenarios and practice techniques for successful management and negotiation, and learn to identify proper and improper behavior in a boardroom and other communal setting.

Session 5: Media, Marketing and Online Tools

Media, Marketing and Online Tools: Jewish organizations must keep up with a world that has gone virtual and mobile. The use of websites, social media, email campaigns and online networking can be an invaluable and cost-effective way of reaching and growing an organization’s audience and impact. This webcast analyzes the do’s and don’ts for creating an effective online presence. Additionally, participants learn tools for engaging their target markets as well as how to reach new and prospective members.

Session 6: Ethics, Accountability & Halacha: What Is Our Moral Compass?

Ethics, Accountability and Halacha: Leaders of nonprofit agencies are bound by a fiduciary responsibility toward shareholders. Additionally, there are legal and constitutional constraints with which we must deal. Furthermore, as committed Jews, we have a fundamental commitment to Jewish law and practice. How is Halacha relevant to these issues? In cases of conflict, how do all of these responsibilities relate to one another and how can we assess which values have priority?

Participants are taken on a fascinating journey in this webinar to explore the balance between Jewish and secular ethics within a nonprofit organizational structure.

Session 7: Fundraising and Financial Success

Fundraising with Results: Dan Forman, who has raised well in excess of $2 billion for nonprofit organizations during his career, shares ideas and resources for running a capital campaign, building endowments and bequests, and successfully fundraising, even in a depressed economic climate. Additionally, the seminar addresses the practical aspects of executing fundraising events. Participants learn innovative ways to boost their fundraising efforts at events such as dinners and auctions.

Participants also learn practical skills for creating and maintaining a healthy organizational budget. They learn the fundamentals of spreadsheet management and best practices for how to balance the constant demands of cash-flow, payables and receivables within a dynamic organization.

Session 8: Finding and Keeping the Best Jewish Professionals

Finding and Keeping the Best Jewish Professionals: This webinar is designed to address the sensitive nature of recruiting, hiring, retaining, evaluating and, if necessary, firing employees within the Jewish community. Through case studies and discussion, participants confront challenging scenarios in order to develop the skills, vocabulary and sensitivity they will need to cope with inevitable issues that arise regarding human resources.

Session 9: Protecting and Maximizing Your Jewish Professional

Protecting and Maximizing Your Professional: The rabbi, headmaster and other paid professionals are the biggest investments that an organization can make. A satisfied, healthy and appreciated professional staff can bring an organization long-term success. Due to the public nature of the professional’s job, there is a danger that he or she may burn out, in addition to, on occasion, be subject to harsh criticism, rumors or even deliberate attempts to harm the professional's reputation. How can organizations maintain open access to their staff, while protecting their professionals from such potentially negative interactions?

This webinar gives participants an inside look into how best to cope with such scenarios. By learning to identify and respond to these situations, organizations can protect their human capital and gain maximum return.

Session 10: The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture: Jewish organizations do not exist in a vacuum but are part of a larger Jewish community. This reality can be a blessing, but it can also be a challenge. Living in a culture with competition among Jewish agencies can potentially fuel rivalry and dissension. Instead of maximizing the dollar through creative collaboration, organizations tend to fight for donors and growth opportunities.

Participants learn to create a community of synergy, rather than those dominated by separate silos. Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel shares his insights and experiences to demonstrate how we can shape the future of the American Jewish community in a more healthy, collaborative and sustainable manner, thereby benefiting each individual organization within it.

Session 11: Your Inner Circle of Volunteers

Your Inner Circle: This webinar addresses the art of identifying, recruiting and retaining talented volunteers, and building meaningful partnerships with those around you. Participants are presented with best practices for building a cohesive team of workers and contributors committed to advancing the mission of the organization.

Session 12: Leading With Courage

Leading With Courage: Leadership requires vision, focus and courage. How does one execute one’s strategic vision and inspire lasting change even when facing opposition?

Participants learn how to develop the self-confidence to respond to cynicism, negativity and apathy, without losing momentum or support for attaining their goals. Participants are also encouraged to discuss case studies and solutions from their own leadership experiences.

Session 13: Work, Life and Community Balance; Concluding Thoughts and Future Plans

Work, Life and Community Balance: This Sunday seminar helps participants identify their own strengths and challenges in attaining successful leadership. Participants learn coping mechanisms for dealing with stress that results from, among other factors, living in the public eye.

Participants are exposed to best practices for balancing work, life and family without burnout. They learn to appreciate their own involvement in their community to enhance their personal, family and Jewish lives.

During the final session, a recap is held to review the core competencies that have been learned and discussed throughout the program and to address any unresolved questions or scenarios. Upon completion of the program, cohort members will continue to interact, as they share ideas and resources and turn to one another for guidance in their own leadership roles for the rest of their lives.