Wexner Wisdom in the Windy City
What do you get when you combine 23 Wexner Heritage Alumni from 14 cities (and a variety of program years), the spectacular Wexner staff, brilliant faculty and nonstop food and drink (besides weight gain)?
I had the pleasure of being an alumni representative and a speaker at the Wexner Heritage Alumni Delegates Council Annual In-Person Meeting a few weekends ago in Chicago. The Council is made up of about 50 Heritage alumni who volunteer to try all sorts of ways to empower alumni to leverage the Wexner network, work together and continue to improve their leadership vision and skills. And as is my experience with every Wexner event, I left the meeting with renewed energy and commitment, awe of my fellow alumni, dozens of new ideas and some new friends (seriously sappy, but true).
Each participant was asked to present a BHAG — a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL “that represents the best of [their] community” as well as an idea that is “small, specific, actionable.” And boy did your fellow Heritage alumni deliver.
So in a world with short attention spans and an overload of information, I wanted to share some bite-size learning in the form of my top 10 list of Wexner Wisdom.
2. Borrow ideas shamelessly. The power of collaboration can and should extend across communities. What works in Phoenix might also work in Miami, Denver and the fictitious NJ region of MetroWest (not to be found on any map, and where I serve as a WHA Delegate).
3. Catchy names for Jews of all backgrounds never hurt. Find out if you are a Colorful Jew, an Original or a Neo-Con. People, now is not the time to lose your sense of humor. For more information, please e-mail David Strulowitz (Chicago 06).
4. Biodynamic, sustainable, organic, holistic farming is a Jewish value — especially if you are on the 67 acres of The Ranch in San Diego where 13 Jewish organizations have their home. Contact “Farmer” Emily Einhorn (San Diego 1) who can share the details of this amazing effort.
5. Synagogues are frustrating, slow-moving, rigid AND incredibly important institutions as places of gathering, education and family engagement. But a project around synagogue change is definitely not for the faint of heart. Just ask Paul Corwin (NY Proskauer) or Stacy Mason (San Francisco 11), among others.
6. A program does not have to be new to be effective. World-famous speakers, like Israeli military leaders and presidents of leading universities, still do fill rooms, according to Geoffrey Lewis (Boston).
7. Popcorn is an entirely appropriate mid-morning snack when breakfast was served just 30 minutes earlier.
8. Emily Einhorn (San Diego 1) and Ted Einhorn (Cleveland 05) are not related, nor are Cindy Chazan and faculty member Barry Chazan. And no amount of Jewish geography can make it so.
9. Angie Atkins (MetroWest 08 and august Wexner leader) has been known to get in a lotus pose during an interactive learning session. Next time, Angie, we expect a headstand or some sort of singing salutation. And how do you never have anything but a smile on your face? You are too good to be true.
10. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, never, ever, ever hold a meeting in a facility where Starbucks addicts (who shall remain nameless) cannot bring their coffee in. Or let them know in advance so they can plan some sort of covert operation for their morning java.
Wishing you all a Shana Tova and the opportunity to be inspired by fellow Wexnerites in the New Year. To learn more about the WHA Alumni Delegates Council, contact Angie Atkins, or one of us!
Rachel Braun Scherl is a marketing strategist, consultant, entrepreneur, author, vagipreneur, proud Wexner Heritage grad, wife, and mother. In addition to starting her own companies, consulting and teaching at places like Duke and Stanford, Rachel serves on the Wexner Heritage Alumni Delegate Council. She can be reached at email@example.com.