Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Jewish Cincinnati Only as Good as the ‘Strength of its Leaders’
Fifth Cohort of Monaco JNLI Begins; Alumni Development Program to Launch in 2019
As Jewish organizations across the country wrestle with how best to attract and retain high-performing professionals, Cincinnati’s Jewish community is investing in professional development through the Monaco Jewish Nonprofit Leadership Institute (Monaco JNLI), a program that supports the community’s broader talent management strategy.“Our community is only as good as the strength of its leaders,” said Jewish Federation of Cincinnati CEO Shep Englander. “So we are working hard—across organizations—to create opportunities for our employees to develop professionally and to advance their careers in Jewish Cincinnati.”
“For the last four years, we have done that through the Monaco JNLI program,” said Barb Miller, Director of Community Building for the Jewish Federation. “We have graduated 108 leaders from 22 agencies and congregations in Cincinnati. Each of those professionals has gotten insights into organizational leadership, as well as Jewish values and wisdom—and we’ve started to see results.”
Through Monaco JNLI, which is funded by the Jewish Federation, participants learn from OneSource instructor Michael Katz about their strengths and emotional intelligence as a professional as well as leadership in a nonprofit, including fundraising, leading boards, and succession planning.
They also study Jewish texts with University of Cincinnati Judaic Studies Professor Dr. Arna Poupko Fisher, connecting modern-day leadership principles to Jewish history and values.
The participants create a network among colleagues working in other Jewish communal agencies and congregations. Small groups are led by Monaco JNLI graduates—a boon for both the participants and the leaders themselves.
“Our group developed a trust, where people could share stories and real case studies—and offer each other feedback—in an organic way,” said Dara Wood, Director of Education & Ritual for Adath Israel Congregation.
“Not only that—having the opportunity to lead a small group gave me the space to revisit the principles and concepts as they apply to my own professional and self-development,” added Reagan Kuhn, Project Manager of Create Your Jewish Legacy.
“People are bringing concepts from the course into their work,” Englander said. “After four years of JNLI, we’re starting to see cultural changes. And we’re seeing people develop professionally, to where they’re ready to take on more senior leadership roles in our community.”
Of the graduates, 15 have been promoted within their organizations or have advanced their careers at another Jewish organization. This group includes David Harris, who was hired as Executive Director of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati after serving as Create Your Jewish Legacy Manager at the Jewish Federation.
“Over the course of the JNLI program, I was reminded of my potential, and I was provided a framework for personal and professional self-development,” Harris said. “In part, the JNLI program empowered me to look for the next phase in my career as a Jewish nonprofit professional and to find my current role.”
A fifth cohort of Monaco JNLI participants began in the fall, and this month, the Federation is launching a Monaco JNLI alumni program to further support participants of the program.“We’re proud to announce the creation of a Monaco JNLI alumni program,” Miller said. “Starting this month, graduates will be offered quarterly half-day sessions that will focus on practical skills for nonprofit agency employees and on Jewish culture, education, and history.”
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