Tilly Shames from the University of Michigan Hillel was one of eight Hillel professionals who recently participated in a seminar in New York City for Accelerate: Hillel’s Executive Training Program.
“Accelerate made me feel like I was surrounded by excellence among my peers and colleagues in Hillel. For Hillel to make such a sugnificant investment in this group of rising, experienced and energetic professionals shows a strong commitment to our continued growth and success in Hillel for now and the future,” said Shames.
The seminar was one component of the 15-month long Accelerate program, which aims to build future executive leadership from within. Participants in the program receive customized professional development plans grounded in the outcomes of a 360° performance feedback instrument, mentorship by a successful Jewish professional, two seminars which provide both leadership and skills training, leadership exposure and networking opportunities, and connection to a cohort of other top Hillel talent interested in assuming directorships.
Shames added, “I was equally appreciative of and impressed by the high calibre of faculty, scholars and presenters throughout the Accelerate conference. They challenged us to develop our own values-based vision for the work that we do and they presented the practical skills that we need as future executive directors in a Jewishly meaningful way."
Among those who met with the Accelerate participants over the course of the four-day seminar were Hillel International Board of Governors Chair Edgar M. Bronfman, Hillel President and CEO Wayne L. Firestone, NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy Director Naomi Levine, UJA-Federation of New York CEO John Ruskay, and Shifra Bronznick of Advancing Women Professionals. Rhoda Weisman, executive director of the Professional Leaders Project, served as faculty-in-residence. The group learned with director of Yeshivat Hadar Ethan Tucker and with NYU’s Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership David Elcott.
“I truly enjoyed being surrounded by people who care so much about the future of Hillel and who are so committed to the growth and continuity Hillel. Not only did the seminar give us more tools and skills to better prepare ourselves to become executive leaders, but it enabled us to bond as a group and to sharpen our visions though Jewish values,” said Vanina Sandel Mutchnik of Hillel of Silicon Valley.
“I feel lucky that I was chosen to be part of the Accelerate program. I feel our group benefits a lot from the training we are receiving,” she added.
Three seasoned Jewish professionals are serving as mentors in the program: Or Mars, the director of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program and former director of North Carolina Hillel; Rae Ringel, president of the Ringel Group LLC, and leadership coach and trainer; and Jay Lewis, executive director of University of Kansas Hillel.
“Investing in our professional leaders is the best way to ensure that we are nurturing the talent that is right in front of our faces. The Hillel Accelerate program is an amazing mix of essential skills building and deep reflective practice that will help Hillels have excellent directors in the future,” said Or Mars.
Over the next year, the participants will work with their mentors to build individualized learning plans as they prepare to take on executive director roles in the fall of 2010.
“I have returned to my campus feeling energized about my continued growth trajectory during Accelerate this year and more confident in my path toward becoming an executive director in Hillel,” said Shames.
For more information please visit the Accelerate page.