On Wednesday, November 12, more than fifty professionalsattended the second Jewish Professional Network (JPro) breakfast. The breakfast, dubbed Graceful Transitions and Navigating Change, featured former CEO of Jewish Family Service, Jill Borg Spitzer, and current CEO Michael Hopkins. The colleagues spoke candidly to the audience about their experiences— separately and as a team— transitioning into their respective leadership roles, the start of their Jewish professional careers, and discussed lessons they learned along the way.
The breakfast convened with an opening speech from Moderator, Rabbi Matt Earne of Temple Beth Am, who discussed the necessity of change in Jewish life while highlighting connections to the week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah. Through his connection to the matriarch of Judaism, Rabbi Earne, emphasized purposeful and meaningful life transformations—both personally and professionally.
Change wasn’t the only topic in agreement between the past and present CEO’s, both speakers, discussed the importance of treating all organizational staff in a way that they would want to be treated one day; providing on-going professional and leadership development opportunities for Jewish communal professionals; and keeping the ‘talent’ within the local Jewish community.
In addition to sharing several viewpoints, Hopkins and Spitzer credited their Jewish summer camp experiences as instrumental to their careers in the Jewish non-profit world. Hopkins and Spitzer both said they were guided to be in the positions that they are in today, highlighting the importance of connecting and mentorship; hence, the JPro Network.
In light of the 20th annual San Diego Jewish Book Fair, the breakfast concluded with a few words about a book that affected both speakers throughout their careers. A Responsible Life: The Spiritual Path of Mussar— the book chosen by Spitzer— was referred to as a guide to lead an ethical, fulfilling, and more pragmatic life. Hopkins discussed Strengths Finders, a book that his allowed him and his staff to discover their assets, which has become an invaluable team building, leadership, and organizational resource.
The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is proud to promote and sponsor the JPro Network. The third JPro event, “Lighting the Way to the Future” will take place on December 14th, with exciting details coming soon.
The Federation supported JPro Network aims to empower San Diego Jewish communal professionals with innovative ideas and best practices to impact the sector through community-wide educational and leadership programs. To learn more about JPro and future events visit their Facebook page.