"As a sitting Federation CEO, I have had nothing but disappointing interactions with Deborah. She is a "tried and true" HR person. I have listened to multiple PPT presentations by her about how to lead, do staff development, etc. and they are so "cookie cutter" that she seems to just change the name of the organization on each slide. There is nothing really new, different, or focused about Federation in specifics (except perhaps the one or two slides and case scenarios (that are so basic) on lay-pro relations).
I recall a conversation with her when I was interested in a possible move as a CEO of a larger community. Her message to me..."since you have been in the Federation world so long, perhaps you are interested in going to work for a for-profit for new experiences." I was flabbergasted and angry -- at that point I had been in the Federation world for 20+ years and this was the message?
The mode at the Mandel Center seems to be "let's do community searches and look for candidates OUTSIDE the Federation field." This is also a Jerry stance -- I do believe he thinks that you can just "drop" people in to Federation roles from outside and they will be successful -- I would like him to name at least two in CEO roles.
The placement job done by the Mandel Center has been erratic at best. And her "expertise from being outside the system" has not helped. If anything, I believe we have a greater dearth in having qualified candidates for new positions."
Then, another Commentator offered this:
You asked a very important question regarding Debbie Smith--Does she work full-time, part-time or drops in when needed? Debbie Smith only flies in from her home in Florida (at JFNA expense) when she thinks she should show her face to benefit herself at high level meetings, all staff meetings (what a joke because she snubs most of the staff and is phony with the rest.)I even heard she flew in especially to staff the International Lion of Judah conference (so she can shmooze!)
Just as a side note, the mentality in the Mandel Center is being enforced by Debbie Smith and everyone fears her wrath in this department. Only she can be right even when she is wrong. This is the mentality she is spreading at JFNA. I am so happy I have moved on to find a better organization to work for.
There should be an audit of what she is really costing JFNA (federation dollars)other than her reported 990 compensation. From what I hear... (edited for content)"
So, the question arises: "Who is protecting the profession?" And, the answer is: NO ONE. And the further question: "who is managing this consultant?" And the answer again is: NO ONE. One would expect that all of those former chairs of the community professionals organizations might have intervened in the nmame of the profession itself, but, no.
Does no one care?
- No, not those you would think would care the most -- the most senior Federation Executives of every City-size. They built a federation system in which they take the greatest pride; they are experienced; and they are smart. They have built something that is (or, at the very least, was) incredible. They can't be oblivious of this seminal fact -- that the system they have built is being deconstructed around them.
- And leading the way in that deconstruction is the very organization that they created -- yes, they. They demanded a merger in the name of the federations they led and still, in most instances, lead. JFNA's actions (reread the first Comment above) bespeak an agenda -- can they seriously believe that all is well?
If JFNA's leaders are allowed to continue down the path of deconstruction on which they are traveling, trust that the federations of the near-term future will bear no resemblance to the great federations of the past and the few of today. JFNA will sure have laid the federations to rest with the most senior of federation CEOs performing the last rites.
The old joke goes something like this:
"Two kids are sitting in a high school auditorium, listening to the principal give the welcoming speech for the year. The principal says, 'The two greatest dangers that students face are ignorance and apathy.'
One of the students turns to his friend and asks, 'Dude, what's 'ignorance and apathy?''
The other student, bored and restless and wanting for the speech to end says, 'I don't know and I don't care.'"
But, here's the difference, in the current environment, this isn't ignorance, they "know"...they "know" full well. And, that's the saddest commentary of all.