Leading a Jewish agency comes with unique challenges, and a new program from the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City aims to foster cooperation among those at the top.
The Community Leadership Forum held its final monthly session in March, concluding nearly a year of regular meetings among a handful of people holding top leadership posts — or about to be in those positions — in the community.
The program drew from a cross-section of organizations, including The J, KU Hillel, Jewish Family Services, Village Shalom and more.
“One of the goals of the program is to provide top agency leadership with the skills and experience they need to lead their agencies,” said Andi Milens, senior director of community building for the Federation. “Equal, if not more important, was building a community of leaders and helping develop relationships between them. A lot of them knew each other but didn’t necessarily have relationships around their leadership capacities.”
Slated to start last year just as the pandemic took hold, the program had to adjust quickly. Speakers conducted every session online and altered the way they addressed some topics to keep them relevant with the challenges people were encountering.
“It went more smoothly than we imagined. We were still learning how to use all features of Zoom at time,” Milens said.
Despite not meeting in person, Milens thinks participants bonded by discussing common issues.
“This was a place where trust could be built. They got to know each other and saw connections that they may not have seen otherwise,” she said.