Learning Never Ends

By: Cindy Goldstein
Executive Director
The Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development at the Weinberg Center

Make it your new year’s resolution to continue learning, growing, improving! Learning never ends!

In fact, it increases our happiness and job satisfaction.  Our goal is to keep people working in the Jewish community and in non-profits, serving our communities with excellence.

Nicole Stottlemyer from Jewish Recovery Houses, a Friedman Fellow, cannot say enough about what she learns. Having attended the Jewish Heritage Series she exudes, “After each class I feel uplifted, renewed and excited to go back to the office and serve this amazing community.”

All participants are thrilled to take the time to attend workshops and their supervisors are giving them a gift by encouraging them to do so. They come back energized and ready to put their new skills to work.

“I feel so fortunate to be able to take the time out of the office to attend these workshops; it makes me feel so valued,” expresses Nicole.

In his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink states that people are happiest in their work when they have some influence and control over their work – autonomy; when they grow and develop as professionals, improving their performance and acquiring new skills – mastery; and when they believe that the work they do matters, that their days are spent in service to something larger than themselves – purpose.

Similarly, Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner asserts in “three E’s” that when individuals bring excellence to their work, when they are fully engaged and passionate, and when the highest standards of ethics inform all that they do, then workplace happiness follows logically.

DFI’s training is based on professional competencies that every leader needs given the role they play in the Jewish community – conceptual, management, communication, organizational and intra- and inter-personal skills, as well as Jewish knowledge.   As “servants” of the Jewish community it is our obligation to do our work within a Jewish context, steeped in Jewish values, and with Jewish knowledge to inform our everyday interactions.

This week, you may be attending Deborah Grayson Riegel’s DFI workshop on “Difficult Conversation with Difficult People” to learn to handle conflict with a colleague whose personal style is different from your own. Perhaps this week you’ll learn from Rabbi Joanna Samuels how to express your voice and become visible in the community by leveraging your knowledge and talents.

How about administrative skills such as budgeting or web design? This month, our community’s own experts Joan Roth, Chief Administrative Officer at Jewish Community Services and Esha Janssens-Sannon, Interactive Designer for THE ASSOCIATED, will be offering these essential skills for both professionals and lay leaders. Register now>>

Learning promotes workplace happiness and enables you to share your passion with your colleagues and network toward the goal of future collaboration.  We have so many diverse Jewish organizations, synagogues and schools. When we all come together to learn and digest, we share and strengthen ourselves and thus our community.

Ken Krivitzky, Director of Hillel at Towson, is a DFI board member and is grateful that DFI, “allows me to easily integrate learning and networking opportunities into my schedule and additionally DFI is an important statement from the ASSOCIATED that we value the growth of all of our professionals  and view professional development as part of each person’s job description.”

Ken advises, if you haven’t already, incorporate professional development into employee evaluations.  Make it a topic of conversation at supervisory meetings. Decide along with your supervisor on the areas you would like to strengthen in yourself and the competencies you need to improve.

As a supervisor, Ken models professional development for his staff. He attends workshops and encourages them to do so as well.

“JPRO day was both a great bonding experience for us, and also was very useful in our planning for the upcoming year,” asserts Ken.

View DFI’s complete upcoming workshop listing>>

Read other leadership development blogs>>

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Filed under Jewish Learning, Leadership Development, Professionals

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