Civic Leadership and More at the 2013 NLP Retreat

What can you teach a group of intelligent, ambitious and accomplished young professionals about leadership in a single weekend?  

You can teach them how to ask the right questions. You can demonstrate how many Jewish organizations exist in this town. You can give them an overview of the complex city in which we live. You can teach them to recognize the strategies they use to influence people and teach them new ones. 

And, as local Jewish politician Bob Hertzberg put it, you can teach them that “being good looking and fast talking does not make you a leader.” 

The New Leaders Project Class of 2013 spent February 22-24 at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley delving into the vast topic of leadership. Thought provoking sessions, such as “How to Listen and Ask Critical Questions,” led by Paul Vandeventer of Community Partners, were interspersed with opportunities for group bonding – an afternoon hike around the gorgeous pastoral campus; a raucous, evening of competitive Jewish trivia games – as well as quiet moments for self-reflection and spirituality. 

The impressive list of guest speakers at the retreat made for a weekend full of rich content: Rabbi Cheryl Peretz brought an unusual blend of experience in both the corporate world and spiritual arena and she lead a lively text study and discussion regarding Jewish Thoughts on Civil Discourse; Leslie Goldenberg led a fast-paced workshop that highlighted the various techniques we all use to influence others in our everyday lives; NLP alumni Nick Karno and Barri Worth gave the group an entertaining crash course on Los Angeles politics, flavored with their unique sense of humor and passion for civic leadership; and Bob Hertzberg shared his hard-earned wisdom and candid insight on being a civic leader. 

The 19 young professionals selected to participate in this year’s class of NLP are a varied and lively group – a handful of lawyers; several who work in the Jewish community; some married with children; and quite a few representatives from the San Fernando Valley. The group was reflective of Los Angeles’ rich Jewish community, with Israeli, Mexican, South American and Persian Jews represented among us. 

The retreat was a welcome respite from everyday life, a chance to coalesce as a group, an opportunity to analyze our leadership skills and a beginning of something we have yet to see. 

So what can you teach a bunch of young Jewish leaders in a single weekend? That there’s a lot to learn about being a leader. 

By working with community leaders to address some of the most critical issues facing Los Angeles, NLP participants enhance their leadership capabilities while gaining a deep knowledge and understanding of the diverse fabric of our city. Founded 20 years ago, this Federation program has graduated over 180 New Leaders who have gone on to affect positive change throughout Los Angeles. For more information, please contact Alissa Duel (323) 761-8236 or 

Tags: Community News, Engaging in our Community, Federation Events, Young Adults

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