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Cultivating Innovation in L.A.’s Jewish Community

In the last month I have had the great privilege to be part of the inaugural cohort of PresenTenseLA. As a part of this fellowship of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, I have met some of L.A.’s Jewish community’s most creative and exciting innovators. Through a variety of workshops, seminars, brainstorming sessions and networking opportunities our cohort is able to help one another from within the PresenTense infrastructure. This infrastructure engages us with tools geared to advance our respective ventures as well as encourages us to network. The networking and resources do not stop there. PresenTense fosters relationships and pairs each of the fellows with coaches and mentors. The coaches and mentors are carefully paired to ensure the right fit of skills and experience.

In the last week alone, I have met with each mentor, my coach, my cohort and the great staff and educators of the PresenTense fellowship. With tool building exercises I have learned how to look at my non-profit venture JQ International with new a new lens. I have been able to challenge a previously formed vision and positioning. These new insights have afforded me the opportunity to strategize how I can best take JQ International to new heights. 

I have learned through my last workshop that JQ International has limited competition but tremendous opportunity for collaboration. Hearing from my peers their suggestions for me as I continue to build on the tools and resources provided me with great insight. I felt a tremendous feeling of support and validation for my venture. I in turn felt excited and honored to offer my suggestions and ideas to each of my peers in their ventures. I am surrounded by great minds and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and I love it!

Each PresenTense function from seminars to social functions like last weekend’s Shabbat lunch have reinforced a sense of community and camaraderie around social entrepreneurship. I look forward to each engagement opportunity with an increased level of excitement for what it might hold.

Asher Gellis is the Executive Director of JQ Internationala nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to the LGBT and Jewish communities and advances the efforts of the Jewish community to increase its inclusion of the under-served LGBT community. JQ is seen as the expert on LGBT Jewish programming in Los Angeles and it represents the only trans-denominational LGBT Jewish organization in the Greater LA area.

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