From left to right, Ruthie Warshenbrot (Director, Wexner Field Fellowship), Or Mars (Vice President) Anna Serviansky (WGF Class 27), Noam Soker (Administrative Associate), Chaviva Levin (WGF Class 5), Rebecca Rosenthal (WGF Class 16), Megan GoldMarche (WGF Class 22), Daniel Kirzane (WGF Class 21), Stefanie Zelkind (Director, Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program).
WexCoComm is a group of Wexner Graduate Fellowship alumni who volunteer to think about how we all might make the most of our Wexner community and connections. We help shepherd initiatives, offer advice to the WGF/WFF professionals when asked, and try to identify ways that Wexner fellows and alumni can be of service to, and make the most of the talent and energy of, the Wexner community.
I remember when I applied for the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, a WGF alumna and my assigned teaching mentor had told me it was “the gift that keeps on giving.” While I could not have understood what that meant then, I now have an ever deeper appreciation of those words returning from an all-day meeting of the WexCoComm at Wexner Foundation headquarters in Columbus.
I think everyone can agree that what makes the WGF special is the commitment and deep intellectual curiosity of the fellows for the betterment of the Jewish world. A group of WGF alumni voluntarily commit themselves to thinking seriously about the needs of the alumni community. How can we make sure all alumni feel valued? What do our alumni need from the Wexner Foundation? How can we include more people in meaningful activities?
During the course of the day, in true Wexner fashion, we thoughtfully examined results from a survey taken of our community and began to discuss ways to form and implement recommendations. From regional gatherings with staff presence to professional development opportunities to highlighting members of our community, we discussed ways to ensure that as many members of our alumni community as possible could connect and benefit even further from the network that bolstered their graduate study.
On top of that, those of us in attendance had the privilege of visiting the new offices in Columbus for the first time. I could not have been more impressed by the intentional (and beautiful) design of the office which reflects an open and inventive work space. The President’s office is deliberately placed in the middle, rather than a corner, as an example of leadership radiating out with everyone gravitating towards the middle. The office features a “Collaboratory,” which just as the word implies is not a conference room, but rather a big open table for working together toward innovation, as well as a smaller space with comfortable chairs for smaller, casual meetings to occur. Even the kitchen reflects Wexner’s pluralism vis-à-vis kashrut! And, Linda was right at the front with flowers plucked from her own garden to greet everyone who enters the Foundation with the culture of warmth and enthusiasm Wexner is known for.
In addition to our committee’s great work that day and the initiatives we hope to implement, I also learned, as I always do, from being in the presence of the WGF alumni community and staff. It’s a wonderful gift to continue to learn from each other and from the Foundation, and I’m grateful that the Foundation supports us as alumni to be the best Jewish professionals we can be. For an immediate take-away, I’ll be taking some leadership cues from the office itself, starting with bi-weekly gatherings of our department with themed snacks at the end of the work week!
Anna Serviansky, WGF (Class 27) graduated from Brown University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Georgetown University Law Center. After practicing law in the real estate department of two major law firms and listening to that inner voice nudging her that something was missing, she rediscovered her passion for Jewish education while working at Camp Ramah. Anna completed a master’s degree at Davidson School of Jewish Education at JTS focusing on experiential education. Currently, she serves as an Associate Dean at List College and directs the JustCity Leadership Institute for high school students. She is married to Daniel Serviansky, and they are the proud parents of two sons.
Alumni interested in WexCoComm initiatives can email Anna.