So, we'll examine today the latest "effort" of the JFNA Mandel Center for Leadership -- something called Yasod; something redundant and something being proposed in total disregard for other programming that preceded it and which continues. The JFNA Budget suggests that Mandel receives $3,000,000 a year (that Steve Hoffman is quite a fund raiser, isn't he??) of the Dues your community pays to JFNA...and, I guess, one could ask: For what? Searches? Could be done better at a lower cost to the system by, e.g., Korn-Ferry, DRG or any number of others. And, what else? Uh....
You may have heard or, more likely, participated in The Wexner Heritage Program. I count back to 1986 when I Chaired my Federation and our dear friend and mentor, Rabbi Herb Friedman, z'l, approached us to be one of the first partner federations -- we immediately embraced the idea of deepening the education and training of our future federation lay leaders. Here's where Wexner is today:
"In recent years, community partnerships have brought the Wexner Heritage Program to Atlanta, Baltimore, Boca Raton, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, East Bay (CA), Houston, Los Angeles, MetroWest/NJ, Miami, Montreal, Russian Speaking Jews/NY City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, DC, and Westchester, NY."1000s of young Jewish community and Peoplehood leaders have matriculated through this dream of Herb Friedman and Les Wexner. It is a program that has only gained in strength since the mid-1980s when it began to today, almost three decades later.
Now, we all know that JFNA leaders, most of whom, right up to the top of the professional food chain there, have no institutional memory or have helped to eradicate what little was left, may not know of the Wexner Heritage Program -- but, surely their lay leaders do -- I would wager that the two outstanding Co-Chairs were graduates of Wexner. Nonetheless, with all kinds of fanfare, two respected, wonderful lay leaders announced this absolute copy remaking the wheel as only JFNA and Mandel can't do:
From: Desk of Cindy Shapira
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 3:53 PM
Subject: Announcement - Yasod - Volunteer Leadership Development Program
We look forward to sharing our progress as we move forward.
May 12, 2014
TO: Federation Presidents
FROM: Cindy Shapira, Yasod Chair
Sheryl Kimerling, Yasod Co-Chair
We are very excited to inform you about the Yasod Volunteer Leadership Development Program - a new initiative being offered by the JFNA Mandel Center. The goal of Yasod is to support communities in building a pipeline of excellent volunteer leadership.This intensive leadership development course, developed by the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of the Hebrew University, and written by Dr. Erica Brown, will focus on the skills and knowledge needed to lead a Federation. The curriculum includes discussions on the attributes of an effective leader, managing change and growing and mentoring others.
We will launch the program with a pilot effort in a few communities. If your community has an interest in being considered for the pilot please review the attached detailed description and the program criteria, and send a completed questionnaire (also attached) to Elissa Maier of the Mandel Center by May 27, 2014.
Trust that the attachment describing Yasod (which means "Foundation") essentially describes a Wexner Lite without the quality educators and leaders. (Perhaps, unlike Wexner which splits the annual cost with participating federations to give them "skin in the game," JFNA Mandel will make Yasod available at no cost given the $3 million "gift" JFNA bestows on Mandel annually [one of Steve Hoffman's best solicitations]). Here is the Draft Curriculum:
- "Defining Great Leadership
- The Personal Journey to Leadership
- Growing From Failure
- Mentoring and Growing Others
- Nurturing Vision
- Effective Change Management
- Inspired Communication
- Creating a Leadership Pipeline with Better Succession Planning"
I sent the Yasod materials to one of the most knowledgeable and creative leaders in our system. He looked them over and reminded me:
Yep, here's what we do at JFNA in lieu of creative thinking, monitoring of the extinct or throwing unfunded so-called "Big Ideas" at the wall -- we replicate an incredibly successful program and pretend that it's (1) ours and (2) brand new and, then, they can't comprehend when it fails."In the 60's the great advertising pro, Jerry Della Femina, titled his book about his first thought when Sony came to him to represent them in North America: From the Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor!"