Professional Mastery Matters

By Ilana Aisen

Many early- and mid-career professionals aspire to become supervisors. It’s a sign (one of many) of professional advancement and recognition of excellent performance. In our field, succeeding in our work equates with making a meaningful difference – contributing to others’ lives within and beyond our Jewish communities.

My experience of becoming a supervisor was much like that of many: One day I wasnt a supervisor. The next day I was. End of story. And, until I got some training, I wasn’t particularly good at it. I lacked the foundational skills and the sense of competence as a supervisor that I had achieved in work I had done previously. Of course, there are some natural-born managers but most of us need some help.

As JPRO Network learned through a survey of over 1,000 people working in our sector, one of the greatest needs of earlyand midcareer employees is skillbased training in areas including supervision. To help make this kind of tachlis (practical) training accessible and affordable, we are piloting JPRO Master Classes and our very first one speaks to this exact need. We are so grateful to UJA-Federation of New York’s Wiener Center for Leadership and Learning for partnering with us to offer Managing to Change the World, a popular two-day crash course taught by The Management Center. This will be held March 21 and 22 in New York City. (Spots are limited and going fast.)

Respondents to our survey told us they wanted skill-based trainings in other areas as well, including fundraising, financial management, project management and more. Guided by this feedback, JPRO Network will pilot more Master Classes in the coming months. The topics vary but here’s what Master Classes have in common:

  1. JPRO curates trainings from bestinclass providers.
  2. JPRO offers these trainings to our members at a discount, to help make professional development accessible to a much wider swath of our colleagues. We know that outside of cities that have excellent centers of training like the Wiener Center, far too small a proportion of people working in Jewish nonprofits are able to participate in regular, high-quality professional development and we can’t wait to change this.
  3. JPRO Master Classes bring together professionals from across the diversity of our field. Many of us develop strong networks within our own sub-sector (Federations, Hillel, JCCs, or the city within which we work) but don’t have opportunities to build a breadth of professional relationships – across geography, organization type, generation, etc. Broader professional networks build an individual’s career opportunities and also make possible new kinds of collaboration and organizational success.

We have one more JPRO Master Class on the calendar already, with a few spaces left: Task Management and Delegation with Less Stress, taught by Diana Bloom. This will be three 90-minute, interactive, online sessions, happening March 27, May 2, and May 23. As we move through the pilot phase of JPRO Master Classes, we look forward to sharing back what we learn. In the meantime, to learn more or to request or recommend a particular training, please email us at info@jpro.org.

Ilana Aisen is the Executive Director of JPRO Network and can be reached at ilana@jpro.org.