Sandy Antignas is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program. He is Chief Operating Officer of Steel Partners LLC, an investment firm in NYC, and he leads a planning and grant making cluster at UJA-Federation of New York focusing on Jewish Peoplehood. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
While leadership transitions, from one generation to the next are continuous, recently I have been struck by them and my place in this continuum. During the past year notable persons, leaders in politics, the arts, news that lead and defined the world that many of us grew up in have passed from the scene. Some new ones, including a 48 year old President, have emerged.
How does the Jewish community ensure there are individuals capable of assuming leadership roles through the continuum of time? The array of leadership programs, including Wexner which we have benefited from, is the main response. These are essential. But I have been struck of late by our personal responsibility as leaders in this process, in particular for the aspects that cannot be learned by attending a “program”. This includes developing people for specific roles so they are able to manage and understand the issues, history, processes, the organization, etc. to be effective. Also to ensure there is a cadre of individuals with the passion, interest, experience and are capability to carry on the work. While we tend to focus on challenges and issues of the day, I would hazard to say that we don’t give enough time to this responsibility.
One of the ultimate tests of having being a good leader is that someone even better has followed you. As I begin the New Year, I am going to do better to ensure that this is the case. Perhaps our leadership programs can do more to prepare us to do this as well.