Jodi Mansbach is an alumna of the Wexner Heritage Program. When she is not volunteering, Jodi is a wife, mother and now student. Leaving the working world after 18 years, she is working for her Master’s in urban planning at Georgia Tech.  She can be reached at

Endless meetings. Excessive email. Too much time away from the family.  I was reaching leadership burn out, something I’m sure readers of this column are familiar with. I tried to remind myself of the importance of Jewish education, continuity, identity. But it wasn’t working. Until I met Russell.

Russell is the twenty something that our Federations and so many foundations are trying to reach.  He wants to start a Jewish Music Festival in Atlanta. Atlanta, a community of 100,000+ Jews has a book festival and a film festival but no music festival. Russell is passionate and excited. But he doesn’t know where to start, how to form a 501c3 or who to talk to about funding. And he can’t find anyone to get him started.

Suddenly, over bowls of noodles, I re-found my passion for this work. I realized that there was a new way for me to contribute to the community. I could help Russell attempt to achieve his dream just as others had done before for me.  Somehow I always saw myself as the one doing the learning. I still have a lot to learn. But it’s not too soon for me to start giving back by mentoring the next group of Jewish entrepreneurs. With that thought, I got my leadership groove back. All it took was a bowl of noodles. And a good idea.