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The NextGen Engagement Initiative – More than Networking

I have been involved with The Jewish Federation’s NextGen Engagement Initiative—affectionately called NEI—for over four years, essentially from its inception. Over time, this gathering of Jewish professionals who work in the young adult space has evolved from a place to engage in constructive conversation over bagels & coffee, to productive networking, to true professional development. Today, NEI is all three and more. The intangible yet crucial part of the equation is chemistry.

There is something that happens when you put a bunch of creative, motivated Jewish professionals in a room. Ideas pop and percolate. Partnerships are hatched on the spot. Bits of information are shared that might be exactly what you needed to push your program or idea forward. Just last month, on my way out, I started chatting with a colleague. Ten minutes later, we decided to submit a grant proposal together. What happens in the NEI conference room at The Jewish Federation spills out into the lobby…and beyond.

NEI has evolved into a gathering that I look forward to each month because I know the programming will be both useful and unique (plus the aforementioned bagels & coffee). Last month, NEI’s fearless leader Marisa Kaplan arranged to have Amy Robinson, a leading marketing professional from the Interchange Group, speak to us about marketing across the generations. We learned how working with and programming for a Baby Boomer differs from dealing with a Gen X’er or a Millennial. Although many of us intuit these differences on a daily basis, Amy provided some substantial data including behavioral characteristics that we will be able to apply to our work immediately.

As the LA Program Manager for Reboot, I am always interested in what my fellow Jewish professionals are doing across our vast city. I am constantly thinking of their programmatic ideas and needs, and brainstorming ways we can collaborate and share Reboot’s innovative content and programs. NEI provides not only a platform for collaboration, partnership and resource-sharing, but also a trampoline to take all of your big Jewish ideas to the next level. Plus, y’know…the bagels & coffee.

NEI’s next session will be held on Thursday, June 4, 8:45 AM at Jewish Federation Los Angeles, 6505 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles 90048. Stacey Derkatch, an Associate at Innovation Protocol, will lead an interactive workshop about strategic brand development. 

Lisa Grissom is the L.A. Program Manager for Reboot and is responsible for producing local events and working with community partners to create programming based upon Reboot’s innovative projects, including The National Day of Unplugging, Unscrolled, 10Q, Beyond Bubbie, and reBar among others. For more information about these projects and more, visit www.rebooters.net or contact lisa@rebooters.net.

The NextGen Engagement Initiative (NEI) is a community of Jewish communal professionals and volunteers working to reach, engage and involve young Jewish adults in Los Angeles. Convened by the Jewish Federation, members meet regularly to both grow as individuals and organizations via networking, professional development, shared resources, and partnership and grant opportunities.  For more information about the NextGen Engagement Initiative, contact Marisa Kaplan at MKaplan@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8248.  Be sure to visit NEI’s online conversation at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NEI.JFedLA/.

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