New program promises to elevate Volunteer Leadership Development to new heights | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

New program promises to elevate  Volunteer Leadership Development to new heights 


This month the Milwaukee Jewish Federation is launching a first-of-its-kind development program for Milwaukee Jewish communal lay leaders: the Gerald z”l and Louise Stein Leadership Institute. The goal is to provide volunteers with the knowledge, skills and peer network necessary to most effectively guide local organizations. The institute will combine national courses led virtually by the Board Member Institute (BMI) with in-person, Milwaukee-specific learning. 

The program is named in honor of Gerald z”l and Louise Stein, who provided the initiative’s seed funding. “The Steins have created a bedrock of success in our community thanks to their leadership,” said Julie Schack, Federation’s Vice President of Philanthropy. “Louise is just passionate about Jewish education and, along with her late husband, Jerry, has always been interested in ensuring we are looking to cultivate the next generation of leaders.” 

“Jerry and I always felt the potential of the Federation would result from recruiting good people and continually developing them,” said Louise Stein. “After decades of volunteering and now passing on the torch, I recognize that it is imperative to continue investing in and developing the next generation of leaders. I am happy to be a part of this new venture into leadership development in order to ensure the future success of the Federation.” 

Chelsea Cross, Mark Goldstein, Jason Gottlieb, Sara Hermanoff, Kurt Janavitz, Cynthia Levy, Susan Lubar, Betsy Rosenblum, Carrie Steinberger and Ramona Tenorio were selected as the inaugural cohort’s participants. While their leadership experience ranges from two years to 15+ years, all serve as lay leaders at multiple Jewish organizations. Funding from the Steins as well as the Clarice S. Turer Charitable Fund is heavily subsidizing participants’ tuition, as well as covering other program costs. 

“For years, lay leaders have been asking for more development opportunities,” said Rabbi Hannah Wallick, Federation’s Vice President, Leadership and Global, who will be managing the program, along with Schack. “There was so much enthusiasm from the leaders we asked to participate, which further confirmed that people are looking for opportunities like this.”  

Through BMI, the Milwaukee leaders will receive 36 hours of comprehensive curriculum taught by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School Center for Nonprofit Management and Jewish sector practitioners. Focus areas will include Jewish values; board roles and responsibilities; financial regulations and responsibilities and fiscal issues; strategic and organizational management; and leadership succession. BMI is managed by Boardified, which empowers Jewish communal organizations to reach their full potential with the support of engaged and prepared volunteer leaders.  

The local sessions, being crafted by Federation and BMI, will offer leaders the opportunity to discuss and apply best practices from the virtual sessions, while promoting idea-sharing among organizations. Federation’s immediate past Board Chair, Moshe Katz, a seasoned leader with a background in Jewish education, will leverage his experience to facilitate the in-person programming.  

“The Federation is the hub of Jewish lay leadership in our community,” said Rabbi Wallick. “Now, through the Gerald z”l and Louise Stein Leadership Institute, we are ensuring we have volunteers who can effectively lead us for many years to come, which is key to strengthening our Jewish community and building a vibrant Jewish future.” 

Questions about the Gerald z”l and Louise Stein Leadership Institute can be directed to Rabbi Hannah Wallick at