Friday, November 13, 2015

FEDEverything or FEDNothing -- YOUR CALL

So, there's FEDeration, there's FEDovation, there's FEDCentral...yes, there's now FEDeverything...and, sadly...FEDnothing when it comes to JFNA.

All of us know, every single one of us, that JFNA today is in the branding...the rebranding, really...of everything and doing nothing. Or, make that, more accurately, almost nothing. There seems to be a belief at 25 Broadway, that "if you brand it, if you rebrand it, they/we will come." But, they/we don't.

Reflecting upon the past three years at JFNA all I see are three years wasted. Going into their terms one had great hope for accomplishments from Michael Siegal as Board Chair, Dede Feinberg, Chair of the Executive, and Steve Silverman, as Treasurer. Each of them deserves our thanks for their dedicated service, for taking on often thankless leadership roles, and for the time they gave in trying to make JFNA a better organization. They must be, as all of us must be, sorry that these three years turned out to have been three years of stasis and worse of an organization that has been in a permanent institutional coma.

All three of these leaders are wonderful Jews, and leaders who took on their roles with no personal agendas. They knew our system well. So, why failure? Why did Michael, who quickly saw, from the perspective of a great businessman and as a Jewish leader, perpetuate in place a CEO unworthy of the title, tying his administration and the next to an anchor that has dragged down the institution? We will never know the answer. Why did Dede not act proactively to develop programs that would have, at a minimum, enhanced the GA and increased federation engagement with JFNA -- areas of leadership that were right in Dede's wheelhouse? Was she waiting for someone to ask? Was she just shoved aside by Michael/Jerry? We will never know the answer. And why did Steve not insist on a Budget process that tied expenditures to budget line items, the same "best practice" that I am certain is applied in his Jacksonville federation? We will never know the answers.

One thing we do know, one thing that each of these leaders demonstrated -- an organization does not advance, does not grow, when its most senior lay leaders view their jobs as strictly reading the scripts and cheerleading, especially when the scripts are wrong and the cheers echo in silence.

All of us wanted Michael, Dede and Steve to succeed. All of us now place our hopes on Richard Sandler and Jodi Schwartz. We wish them every success.

Rwexler

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will you be as honest and blunt about Richard and Jodi as you regarding Jerry? Or will you continue to play a double standard, and deal unfairly with professionals while letting layleaders off the hook? Yes, yes, you had some "harsh words" for Kathy and others. But let's be honest, there's no comparison to the words you've had for Jerry.

RWEX said...

Hmmm. "Double standard?" When I played doubles in tennis I was known to hold my partners to the highest standards they themselves had set; that made me a terrible doubles partner. I have never held my professional partners to a standard any lower than the standard I have always set for myself. On these pages I think any fair reading would rebut your conclusion, my friend. I have only one standard and I hope I apply it fairly.

With each passing of the leadership mantle, I have had the highest expectations of the successor leaders of our organizations, just as I had hopes for Silverman -- against all logic. No one will be beyond my praise when they have done a great job; and no one is beyond criticism when they do not. And, if you are a regular reader, as I assume you are, you know that I have less and less patience, just one of my many faults.

Is there something that Silverman has done that I should be praising? Let me know...please.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion. Let's get a new CEO and see if Richard praises him.

RWEX said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Since we're talking about Jerry and his performance, check out the article in today's Forward about leadership with a few excerpts from Jerry's speech at the GA, along with one from 2011: Then look at JFNA and ask yourself how the lay leaders could have extended his contract:

http://forward.com/news/324628/sweeping-generational-change-looms-as-communal-groups-face-flood-of-retirem/?utm_content=daily_Newsletter_TopSpot_Title_Position-1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Weekly%202015-11-13&utm_term=Weekly%20%2B%20Daily

Anonymous said...

"75%–90% of Jewish not-for-profit organizations will need to find new executive directors in the next five to seven years"

Anonymous said...

"Silverman ... noted that the federations’ umbrella organization is looking to develop new executives from inside the organization"

Like who?

Anonymous said...

There are several who have come up from inside the system.

RWEX said...

As the earlier Comment noted Silverman was talking his nonsense about "inside the organization" -- not to be confused with "from inside the system."

Anonymous said...

Does any JFNA leader really think that a young Jewish professional would want to come and work at JFNA?
If a reader of this blog has the contacts, it would be interesting to find out how many professionals have left JFNA on their own accord during the past 5 years (You need to give a pass to Jerry's 1st year, when he was making all of his promises about the JFNA workplace; It wasn't evident that he wouldn't be able to lead until his 2nd year. Although most of the top professionals at 25 Broadway knew it after 6 months).