Eight Hillel professionals from across North America have been selected to participate in Debra S. and Joseph S. Weinberg Accelerate Executive Training Program, an executive training program that prepares individuals to become Hillel directors. Begun in 2009 and now preparing its second cohort of Hillel rising stars, ACCELERATE has proven to be a successful training ground for top-level Hillel professionals: seven of the original eight ACCELERATE participants have been tapped to serve as Hillel executive directors. The group recently participated in its first training session at Hillel headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The new class of ACCELERATE participants includes: Rabbi Benjamin Berger, the senior Jewish educator at the Ohio State University Hillel; Shirin Ezekiel-Hayat, associate executive director for Hillel of Greater Toronto; Carrie J. Fischbein, the program director at Columbia/Barnard Hillel; Mindy Hirsch, the acting director of American University Hillel; Suzy Sostrin-Rainer, the director of student life at the University of Oregon; Bev Shimansky, the director of Jewish student life at Hillel Montreal; Rabbi Kate Speizer, associate director and campus rabbi at Cornell Hillel; and Debbie Yunker, assistant director of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania. (Read their bios.)
ACCELERATE, part of Hillel's comprehensive human resources development program, offers a combination of mentorship, individualized learning and leadership development. Participants will have opportunities to learn and develop key professional competencies, gain exposure to leadership and skill training, as well as work with a successful Hillel director to fulfill the mentorship component of the program.
Jay Lewis, Or Mars and Rae Ringel serve as mentor/teachers for the program, all drawing from years of experience in high-level leadership roles in and out of the Hillel community. Lewis is in his seventh year as executive director of University of Kansas Hillel; Mars is director of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program and former director of North Carolina Hillel; Ringel is president of the Ringel Group LLC, a leadership coach and trainer with an expertise in transforming professional performance to drive greater business excellence. The program is supervised by Hillel Executive Campus Liaison Beth Gansky.