By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Last Sunday was Graduation Day for our 2019 Advanced Leadership Development Program (ALDP) cohort. After visiting with the graduates on their big day and hearing their ideas for connecting people to Jewish life, I left even more hopeful about the bright future that awaits Jewish Puget Sound.
Each of the graduates at the event gave a two-minute presentation summarizing their ALDP Capstone projects, which each of them conceived, applying what they had learned during the eight-month ALDP program to make a positive and lasting impact on community.
To enhance the experience, we tried something new in this year’s ALDP. To help the cohort make connections with existing leaders, each one was matched with a mentor who came from our deep bench of amazing community leaders: past recipients of the Jack J. & Charlotte Spitzer Young Leadership Award, as well as Rob Spitzer, who is continuing his parents’ legacy as the award’s committee chair. The mentors generously volunteered their time to pass on leadership lessons, l’dor v’dor, that only experience can teach and to advise their mentees on bringing their Capstone ideas to fruition.
The creativity that went into each of the Capstone projects was inspiring. An adult b’nai mitzvah class for young adults. A training on how the Jewish community can support marginalized groups. Op-eds sharing insights from personal Jewish journeys. Events highlighting heroic actions to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. A “Chai Tea” bringing together people from different generations.
The diversity of these and the other Capstone projects that we heard about reflects the diverse life experiences and Jewish journeys of our ALDP cohort this year. Many recently came to Seattle and have brought new perspectives and ideas that are sure to further enliven community life in the years ahead. “The diversity of Jewish life is what makes Jewish life,” as we heard from graduation keynote speaker Dr. Beth Cousens, the Jewish Federations of North America’s Associate Vice President for Jewish Education and Engagement.
Leadership is the key to bringing good ideas and motivated people together to give spark to Jewish life. Your Federation is deeply invested in leadership development – it’s been in our DNA for decades, and we are very grateful to you, our generous donors, for supporting this important work. Through the skills, knowledge, and community connections that our emerging leaders gained through ALDP, we can look forward to their accomplishing wonderful things for Jewish Puget Sound in the years ahead.