Interview with Rhoda Weisman, Dean Graduate School for Nonprofit Management American Jewish University

  • 03/29/2016 11:06 AM
    Message # 3917115

    Tell us about your current position, what you do and how long you’ve served. 

    I have the honor of serving as the Dean of the Graduate School of Nonprofit Management at American Jewish University for 17 months and loving it. Before that I served as the Founding Director of the Professional Leaders Project and the Chief Creative Officer of Hillel International. My life’s work has been dedicated to the belief that developing the finest, most effective, knowledgeable and innovative talent is the only solution to building a better Jewish community and a better world. I have been given the privilege to move that vision forward every day with wonderful partners, in shaping the Graduate School into a recognized leader of developing top talent for the nonprofit and social sectors. 

    My days are a wonderful mix of leading, overseeing, coaching, teaching and building relationships. Growing our nonprofit MBA curriculum in quantity and quality is a top priority. We offer 3 new, academic, specialty tracks that we evaluate and tweak constantly, within a terrific, and also new cohort model. Our students span 3 generations; have diverse Jewish, African American, Korean and Hispanic backgrounds and experiences that bring a deep richness to the classes and conversations. Every day, they are urged to integrate, experiment and innovate at work to improve their communities with the knowledge and skills they learn in the evening classes. Our new and returning faculty are highly respected leaders in their fields and are the students’ teachers, models and partners in their development. 

    And, the passion for finding better solutions to the challenges that face us throughout LA and far beyond permeates everything we do.

    Tell us one thing we’d never guess about you.

    “You can get anything you want…” for 1 amazing vodka martini (I’m a lightweight), with big, stuffed, green olives and terrific conversation! :)

    What are a couple of things you attribute to your success?

    The unending support of family to celebrate with and learn from - beloved friends, relatives, mentors, mentees, colleagues, and communities. The true courage of others to believe in me. The insane courage to dream big. The faithful courage to form teams of extraordinary and innovative talent across age, gender, status and experience. The humbling courage to ask for help, apologize and change course after some really big mistakes. And, the steadfast courage of Jewish belief that all of us are here to improve this crazy world.

    Name one area/subject you would like to learn more about.

    What a great question. I’d choose learning much more about neuroscience, artificial intelligence and leadership. I fell in love with the workings of the brain when I took neuroanatomy in college and haven’t fallen out of love since. There almost isn’t a day when new findings are published that change what we know about how people think, feel, act, adapt and change. How can these great strides be leveraged to strengthen leaders of all types to better collaborate and eradicate solvable social problems.

    What is the most challenging/rewarding part of my position? 

    Students, students and students. Nothing is more challenging and rewarding than recruiting the high potential students and helping them develop their abilities far beyond what they could see possible in themselves. Next up, mobilizing and engaging our terrific alumni to help lead us forward.

    Favorite restaurant in LA

    Geoffreys in Malibu, what a truly magical place.

    Name a key challenge for the Jewish profession and how JCPSC could address that need.

    We live in a Jewish professional community that could not be richer across every area of Jewish knowledge and Jewish life. We need JCPSC to create new forms for collaboration and problem-solving as we face increasing challenges led by millennials, in partnership with Jewish pro’s from all backgrounds. There are more millennials in the work force now than any other generation. We need JCPSC to harness all that potential and model change leadership in turning these challenges into meaningful and creative opportunities for thriving Jewish life throughout LA and beyond.

    Last modified: 03/29/2016 11:38 AM | Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (Administrator)
Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (JCPSC)
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