I fell in love with jewish outreach and inclusion as a grad student at brandeis. i was the only student in my class without a strong background and felt lost and very alone in almost every setting. i reached out to a classmate a year ahead of me who was observant and asked her for help. she welcomed me with enormous hospitality, knowledge and open arms and by doing so, changed my life forever. our deep connection has lasted to this day. i believed that there were many thousands of people like me who wanted access to our rich and beautiful tradition but had no way of finding it and made inclusion outreach a life passion. In my first professional role in the Jewish sector, I was a Hillel pro on campus and saw early on that outreach really only works when it is paired with leaders who empower others. And that leadership only works when it is paired with strategy that is directed but flexible; creative but in touch with its audiences; and fueled by passion and tenacity but not over-aggresiveness. i then fell in love with leadership and strategy as tools for inclusion and have never fallen out of it.
2. What has been your most enriching experience during your years of Jewish communal work?
Building strong, eclectic and outstanding teams to accomplish huge visions. My 3 favorites are directing the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps for 10 years, leading the team that developed the birthright israel trip for global hillel in 1999/2000 and founding the professional leaders project in 2004.
3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
Building a community of educators who have the power to shape a far better, more innovative, contributory and educated jewish world than we have now - but they will need each other to do it.
Rhoda Weisman, a recognized expert in leadership and organizational strategy, coached and trained thousands of professional and volunteer leaders. She has been at the forefront of Jewish innovation for 24 years. As Hillel's Chief Creative Officer, she implemented 15 initiatives including Birthright Israel for students and recent grads,. Selected as the ED of PLP conceived in 2004, Rhoda was an early advocate of multigenerational mentoring and Gen Y leadership succession. Rhoda currently consults with non-profits across the USA.
Find out more about Rhoda's work at: http://www.linkedin.com/rhoda-weisman
Follow her on Twitter: @rhodaweisman