Courageous Leadership Incubator

We're Looking for Community Game-Changers

Through the Courageous Leadership Incubator program, Federation is investing in a group of 18 rising leaders with a vision for our community’s future in a post-pandemic world. These individuals  already have leadership experience or are involved in projects across the community. Incubator is an exciting opportunity for a diverse group of rising leaders in the Seattle Jewish community to explore and deepen their own community leadership style and emerge as broader, clearer, more assured, and ultimately more effective leaders.

Young adults having discussion

As part of the Incubator experience, participants:

  1. Vision for the Future: Explore their own Jewish community leadership style through individual tailored 1:1 coaching with a performance coach.
  2. Expand Confidence & Competence: Deepen their knowledge of organizational leadership on the board of a local Jewish community organization in a non-voting capacity from October 2023 – June 2024.  
  3. Access Jewish Wisdom: Participate in a group experience to process, brainstorm, and navigate challenges together in Jewish Leadership Labs. 
  4. Build & Deepen Relationships: Learn from a supportive cohort who will process, brainstorm, and navigate challenges together, while experiencing a weekend retreat.

2023-2024/5784 Fellows

Sarah Castoriano HeadshotSarah is thrilled to be part of this amazing program and can’t wait to get to know everyone. Sarah has a strong connection to the Jewish community in Seattle, where she grew up and participated in various activities and organizations, such as Beth Shalom, JDS, Camp Solomon Schechter and the JCC. Sarah has been serving on the JDS board for eight years and is honored to be the first alumni Board Chair, as JDS is undergoing a remarkable transformation, with a new location in partnership with Herzl-Ner Tamid and a 20% increase in enrollment in the last year. In her professional life, she works as a Chief of Staff at Microsoft, where she manages a $35M+ cost center with over 600 employees worldwide. Before that, Sarah co-operated a non-profit horse rescue that partnered with state agencies and achieved the first felony prosecution of an individual for livestock animal abuse in Washington state. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and 7-year-old son, rain or shine. Fun Fact: Sarah was on a game show in high school.

Perri Doll headshotPerri is a mother in a line of matriarchs who have thrived in the face of antisemitism. She is a community-capacity builder and ideas connector in Tukwila, Washington. Perri’s particular area of interest is in the intersections of shame in both structural embodied white supremacy. Fun Fact: Perri is a classically trained opera singer.

Courtney Fishman HeadshotCourtney Fishman, a Cleveland native, settled in Capitol Hill two years ago in pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. Her caffeine boost is most helpful during her 9-5 leading AI content strategy for Microsoft. Previously serving on the Jewish United Fund’s YLD board and a recent graduate of the Federation’s Reset & Refresh program, Courtney is excited to continue growing within Jewish Seattle. Fun Fact: Courtney is classically trained in voice and even won a radio singing contest.

Jessica Goldberg HeadshotJess Goldberg was born and raised in New York and worked in Chicago before bringing her family to Seattle. She looks forward to strengthening her connection to the Seattle Jewish community and to furthering her development as a Jewish leader. In her free time, Jess enjoys going on walks with her family, cooking, and listening to economics and culture podcasts. Jess is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft and received her MBA at Chicago Booth and her BA at Washington U in St. Louis. Fun Fact: Jessica has been to 100+ baseball games across 3 countries and enjoys keeping a pen and paper scorecard, even though they show the official scoring on the scoreboard these days.

Erin Haber HeadshotErin Haber lives in West Seattle and is an involved member of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. She is excited to be joining the 2023-24 cohort of the Courageous Leadership Incubator, and is passionate about community, culture, and togetherness. Erin was a middle school English Language Arts teacher for ten years in both New York City and Seattle Public Schools, where she served as a department head, new teacher mentor, and model teacher. Currently, she works as an Education Consultant for Promethean World, where she facilitates training to empower teachers in Kent School District to utilize technology in the classroom. In her free time, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband, Eric, and her two children, Aiden (4) and Callie (2). Fun Fact: Erin loves science fiction movies, shows, and books.

Maria Hodgins HeadshotMaria Hodgins, an East Coast native, is now a lawyer at a firm in downtown Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington with her law degree in 2020. Maria and her husband have two adorable and mischievous dogs. She lives in the Madrona/Leschi neighborhood of Seattle and loves reading, traveling, and the Oxford comma. Fun Fact: Maria speaks Spanish.

Bryan Leighton HeadshotBryan made Aliyah and served in the IDF from 2015-2018, where he operated as a Combat Medic. Now he works as a Software Engineer with a passion in emerging technology. One area where he hopes to explore during the Leadership Incubator is the cross-section of technology, education, and the Jewish community. Fun Fact: Bryan can dance the Lindy Hop.

Jordan Louie HeadshotJordan Louie (she/her/Jordan) works for King County Parks and has a breadth of local nonprofit experience (Seattle YMCA, Seattle Symphony, Junior League of Seattle). Most recently, she managed a grants team at the Y, successfully raising over $10M/year. She resides in West Seattle with her partner (Josh), dog (@Tobadog), and two cats (Blitz and Shady). You’ll find her dancing ballet, eating Tim’s Jalapeno Chips, and exploring new parks with the giant fluffy Toba-dog in her free time. Fun Fact: Jordan’s first job was working as a “smoothie girl” at Emerald City Smoothie.

Isabel Mata HeadshotIsabel Mata is a queer neurodivergent storyteller who is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness. Her writing has been published in over 50 publications worldwide and she writes a biweekly advice column for the Seattle Gay News #AskIzzy. She is also the host of the mental health podcast, Being Yourself Loudly, and serves as Director of Marketing, Sales, and Outreach for Mindfulness Consulting. Fun Fact: Isabel is a very talented fly-catcher.

Joshua Penzell HeadshotJosh Penzell is humbled and excited to join this esteemed group of current and future leaders. Previously a theater director in NYC, Josh now works in learning and development and serves as vice president of the board at Congregation Bet Chaverim (S. King County). He and his wife, Shawna, live in Burien with their two children, Finian (5) and Mabel (2); dog, Dakota; cat, Ella; and ten chickens. Josh holds a BS in Communication from Northwestern University, an MFA in Theater from CUNY – Brooklyn College, and an MBA from the University of Illinois. Fun Fact: Josh’s parents wrote a parody lyric of “Do you Love Me,” called “Are you Proud of Me,” and forced him to sing it with them at his Bar Mitzvah.

Ori Ravid HeadshotOri is excited and humbled to be included in this year’s Courageous Leadership Incubator cohort. Ori has lived in Seattle for the past 3 years and began his involvement in the Puget Sound Jewish community with the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle, a great introduction to giving and to the great nonprofits in our area. Before Seattle, Ori called Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Kansas City, Dallas, and Israel home, giving him a unique perspective and approach to philanthropy and the causes he is passionate about. Outside of his work at a health tech startup, Ori loves to make and listen to music, go to the gym, and get outside with his wife Alana and dog Nana. Fun Fact: Ori once performed in a choir in Carnegie Hall.

Zelle Rettman HeadshotBorn and raised in Seattle, Zelle attended several local Jewish schools before studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then Brandeis University. Over the years, Zelle has worked in film, education, real estate, and, most recently, technology management consulting. One of her most impactful volunteer endeavors was the time she spent at Crisis Connections, formerly the King County Crisis Line, and is currently dedicated to volunteering with Bloodworks Northwest, University District Foodbank, Northwest Yeshiva High School, and Mercaz Seattle. Zelle has a passion for personal growth and building bridges between communities. As such, she recently completed the Anti-Defamation League’s Glass Leadership Institute, as well as the Flagship Program at Leadership Tomorrow. Zelle is excited to join CLI to deepen her capacity for Jewish communal leadership and connect with others who are motivated to support and enhance our communities. Fun Fact: Growing up, Zelle had lizards as pets which she caught herself.

Yasmin Sikavi HeadshotYasmin grew up in Seattle and has always valued being a part of the Jewish Community. She can be very competitive, especially when it comes to board games and Wordle. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys cooking, yoga, and salsa dancing. Fun Fact: Yasmin is actually from Seattle.

Ellie Silesky HeadshotEllie is thrilled to be joining a cohort of like-minded peers who are eager to learn, grow, and develop as leaders in the Jewish community. Ellie has spent her career working in the Impact space, as a nonprofit fundraiser and now as a member of the Impact Team at Brighton Jones. As a PNW native, Ellie is proud to be participating in a leadership cohort that is by and for our local Jewish community. Fun Fact: Ellie’s family has deep roots in the Northern New Mexico area.

Elizabeth Slotnick HeadshotElizabeth is an East Coast transplant and moved to Seattle in June 2020. She worked to start a local chapter of Jewish Women International’s Young Women’s Impact Network to connect young Jewish women in the community. Elizabeth is passionate about bringing people together and making the community a better place. Elizabeth is currently a technology sales manager, and outside of work you can find her reading a book, drinking coffee, or going to a workout class. Fun fact: Elizabeth reads a lot of books by Jewish authors and reviews many for the Jewish Book Council. Ask her for book recommendations!

Sarah Tobis HeadshotBorn and raised in the Seattle area, Sarah Tobis is a proud member of the local Jewish community, with fond memories from attending JCC preschool, Camp Solomon Schechter, Herzl-Ner Tamid, and now Island Synagogue. She is honored and delighted to join the Courageous Leadership Incubator 2023-24 cohort to learn from other leaders and continue building Jewish community together. Professionally, Sarah leads the Azure AI team PR team at Microsoft where she’s focused on telling stories about how Microsoft is dedicated to helping businesses succeed with AI. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Communications from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. When she’s not working, you’ll find her chasing after her two-year-old son, spending time with family and friends, working out on her Peloton, or taking nature walks with her Australian Shepherd, Winnie. She’s a Jewish native raising another Jewish native. Fun Fact: Sarah has been involved with LOTS of PNW Jewish organizations.

Jamie Weinstein HeadshotJamie Weinstein was born and raised in Seattle, where she was a member of the Temple De Hirsch Sinai synagogue and an avid participant in many Stroum Jewish Community Center programs. Professionally, she does internal communications at Starbucks Coffee Company, ensuring all employees have clear direction and understanding around the direction of the company and how their roles directly tie to the success of Starbucks. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking fitness classes or riding her Peloton, eating and drinking great food and wine, and binging the latest streaming TV sensation. Jamie is looking forward to learning new skills through the Courageous Leadership Incubator program that will help position her to take on a greater role in strengthening the Jewish community in Seattle – the same community that had an immeasurable impact on the person and professional she is today. Fun Fact: Jamie ran a Star Wars-themed half-marathon at Disneyland dressed as R2D2.

Jeremy Wood HeadshotJeremy is a tribal court judge and employment lawyer in Seattle. He served as Chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission and sits on the Seattle Community Police Commission. In the Jewish space, he taught synagogue youth for almost a decade and has been a member of numerous anti-racism taskforces for Jewish organizations. In his free time, he kayaks, mountaineers, and tries to keep up with his terrier Charlie. Fun Fact: Jeremy was an extra in a commercial for the Israel lottery.


We’re looking for Jewish community game-changers. Our purpose is to invest in a cohort of rising leaders with a vision for our community’s future in a post-pandemic world and who already have leadership experience or are involved in projects across the community. Our primary goal is to facilitate the deepening of mutually supportive, trusting, and resilient board cultures, open to the social and intellectual capital younger leaders have for seeding innovation and turning ideas into action.

  • Tailored 1:1 coaching with Heather Wolfson, CEO and Lead Strategist at Maven Consulting.
  • Placement on the board of a local Jewish community organization as an ex-officio member.
  • 1:1 mentoring from a seasoned board leader.
  • Jewish Leadership Labs with Rivy Poupko Kletenik, Principal at RPK Insight.
  • A weekend retreat.

The age range is 28-40 at time of applying.

  • 5 hours of personal coaching;
  • 15 hours of cohort experience across 6 sessions (2 in-person).
  • Attendance at board meetings as needed for the selected organization through the duration of the program.
  • 3 – 5 meetings with your board mentor as needed.
  • An overnight weekend retreat in the Puget Sound region.
  • Commitment to 80% of the scheduled sessions.

Important: Participants will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) confirming that you have understood
the time commitment required by this program, coaching arrangement, and the expectations of participants as
representatives of a Federation program on the board of a local organization.

Participants will be responsible for scheduling your meetings with Heather Wolfson at a mutually convenient time and date.

Once participants have interviewed with a Federation professional, we will identify a board that aligns with their interests to the best of our ability. The participating organizations will also review candidates and be involved in the selection process.

The Board Chair, in consultation with the professional head of each organization, will identify a mentor by the start of the program. A Federation professional will facilitate the introduction when appropriate. We recommend up to five meetings, however, this is at the discretion of the board mentor and mentee. The board mentor is there to help mentees integrate into board culture.

A mentor is someone who shares their knowledge, skills, and/or experience to help another to develop and grow within a specific context. A coach is someone who provides guidance to a client on their own goals and helps them reach their full potential. A more detailed resource in response to this question can be found in our CLI Cohort II Mentee Guide, which will be sent out to selected participants in October.

All Leadership Labs are scheduled to be delivered virtually at this time. The welcome and closing events are delivered in-person only.

The Incubator experience is our investment in your future as a leader. As part of that leadership journey, modeling the value of tzedakah (charitable giving), each participant in the cohort will be asked to make a meaningful unrestricted donation to the Federation. This can be paid in full at the beginning of the program or in monthly installments over seven months (December 2023 – June 2024).

Currently, we are considering MLK Weekend, January 14-15, 2024 for the group retreat. These dates are subject to change.

Alumni of Federation leadership programs are not eligible to apply—don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

We are only as good as the feedback we receive. If you leave after the first session and have some concrete suggestions as to how your experience could have been more engaging or satisfying, please share with us right away. While there may be “oops moments,” our aspiration is that you come away energized and wanting more. If that hasn’t happened, please let us know!

And yes, there will be a (very) short survey after the first two months. Precisely for this reason.

While it’s absolutely not a problem if you need to miss a session/board meeting or reschedule a coaching or mentoring meeting, we would really appreciate your letting us know in advance of the sessions. Please remember that we are asking participants to commit to 80% of the scheduled sessions, as noted above.

The teaching component of the Jewish Leadership Labs will be recorded. However, we will not record smaller group conversations that will take place in breakout rooms. Recordings will be available following the sessions.

The short answer is – No. You are committing significant time to participate, and we don’t intend to add to this. There may be optional readings ahead of some of the Leadership Labs. It is also possible that you will have some reading/reports to review for your board position.

Cohort participants will be asked to share a bio, contact information, and photo as part of their participation. These will be compiled into a shared document in advance of our welcome event and will also include participating board mentors and organizations. We will make an announcement to the wider community in anticipation of our welcome event as well.

To learn more, contact:

Emily Fine | Program Operations Manager | | 206.774.2215