I am not sure where or how I developed my passion for leadership, but I do recall that I liked to organize and coordinate early in my life. Unknowingly, I built my skills in high school as the jazz band “mom” (the band was mostly guys) and crew leader on backpacking trips with the Explorer Post. My career as a teacher offered many opportunities to improve on these talents, and my time as a volunteer led to numerous leadership roles.
I was blessed to be part of the first cohort of Jewish Federation’s SkillsetNPO leadership program, which cemented my passion for leadership. My favorite role is still my time as President of Women’s Philanthropy. As I reflect on what made that position such a good match for me, I found the speech I wrote when I accepted the position in 2008. I am not surprised the words still resonate.
. . . when Sharon Weidberg called me and asked me to serve [on the Women’s Philanthropy Council] three years ago, I never could have imagined how much I would enjoy, feel empowered by, and be motivated to work with this group of women. You are the reason I love Women’s Philanthropy.
Having spent years devoted to my own synagogue, I have embraced the opportunity to get to know the whole county. I have grown to love and respect a variety of women that I could only get to know here. Our strength is our depth.
We encompass a wide range of ages, backgrounds, education and branches of Judaism. You have committed your time and money to improve the lives of so many in our own community, in our country, and in Israel.
I am blessed to have served my community for many years, but I consider my time with Women’s Philanthropy precious. Working with these amazing women is what recharges my battery, and I hope I can continue to offer my leadership skills for many years to come.
Debbie has served in numerous leadership roles with Jewish Federation including Chair of the Board, Women’s Philanthropy President, Lion of Judah Chair and as an eight-year member of the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). She is the recipient of our Federation’s Woman of the Year Award presented at Women’s VOICES in 2015, and the JFNA Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award presented at the International Lion of Judah Conference in 2010.