Developing Leaders for a Stronger Community
“I think that it’s human nature to want to continue to make progress,” Nanette Fridman told a group of past, current, and future Jewish community leaders. “Progress doesn’t just happen. It’s planned.”
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati invited Fridman to the city to lead discussions with the Federation’s Young Adult Division (YAD) and Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) teams, as well as other professionals and volunteers about what makes good leaders. She is the founder of Fridman Strategies and works with organizations across the country to plan for success, solve challenges, and develop leadership.
During the YAD workshop, she spoke about everyday leadership and how being a leader is not limited to CEOs and other executives.
“It’s behaving and acting like a leader in everyday situations. You may have a much more profound impact on someone’s life than you could imagine,” she told the group. As an example, she pointed to a TED Talk by Drew Dudley, where, while sitting in a college lecture hall, he handed a stranger a lollipop and told him to give it to the girl sitting next to him. Years later, Dudley found out those two strangers fell in love and were married—all thanks to his introduction.
Fridman calls this kind of leadership a “lollipop moment”—a moment that, to you, seems unremarkable, but that could have a profound impact on someone else’s life.
One of the YAD leaders in attendance was Michael Sacher. He wondered afterwards if he had ever created a “lollipop moment” for someone. It did not take long to find out. He said the next day he heard from a former intern who asked to meet in order to to thank him for what he had taught the intern. “Your lessons really helped my business take off,” the intern told him. Sacher said he did not realize his example had meant that much or could have had any kind of impact.
Friedman said this is an example of what she means by leadership. “At the end of the day, I want our leaders to feel empowered to be change agents.”
“The Jewish Federation prides itself on its community leadership,” said Danielle V. Minson, Chief Development Officer and Managing Director at the Federation. “Without all of our wonderful, supportive volunteers, we would not be able to support our community in the way we do.”
“Nanette is such a knowledgeable, engaging, and inspirational teacher and presenter,” said Bill Friedman, Create Your Jewish Legacy Chair. Friedman, who was also at the volunteer workshop, said, “Nanette showed us the many different ways we volunteers can participate in stewarding our community’s current and potential CYJL donors.”
Thanks to our volunteers, our CYJL team is among the best in the nation with $128 million committed, $25.5 million already realized, and over 1,500 letters of intent.
“It’s about having the right people on the team, developing talent, investing in training, and investing in coaching, and it’s a recipe for success when people follow it,” said Fridman. “And once you understand the secret recipe, anything is possible.”
Fridman also shared that successful leaders and volunteers know the value of collaboration. “When we collaborate, we encourage people to use design thinking, which is when you try to solve a problem by being creative and experimental. You go through iterations, maybe many iterations. It’s not perfect at first, so you fail and try again, using what you’ve learned from the last attempt.”
She said all of that trial and error would ultimately create a better final product. “Instead of saying ‘we tried; it didn’t work; we won’t try again,’ we adapt. We build partnerships. When we try it again, we have a better chance of success.”
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