Riveting (Environmental) Talks by Remarkable People

by Abigail Pickus

Move over TED.

Because ‘Riveting Talks by Remarkable People’ has just hit the Jewish-environmental world.

Jewcology, an online resource for the Jewish environmental community supported by the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, recently organized three Leadership Training sessions using the Public Narrative Methodology designed by Harvard professor Marshall Ganz. The sessions took place at the Kayam Beit Midrash (March 14), the Teva Learning Center (June 2) and the Hazon Food Conference (August 21) and were attended by 48 Jewish environmental and social justice leaders.

Selected stories from participants are available on the Jewcology website.

The training centered on developing personal and communal ‘stories’ which we can use as tools to inspire others: the story of self, the story of us and the story of now. These three stories answer fundamental questions about ourselves and the community we are engaging based on a foundation of shared values. By enabling people to tell their own stories effectively, Jewcology is building the capacity of the Jewish-environmental world to inspire and motivate change.

“I felt empowered to tell my story,” said one Jewcology Leadership Training Participant, “and I felt the intense writing sessions forced me to focus in on the most important aspects of my story. I fully intend to use what I’ve learned in ‘the real world’!”

“It taught me to articulate my motivations and the importance of doing so to engage others in change,” said another participant.

The results of evaluations taken from participants of the training are as follows:

  • 91.7% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that as a result of this session, they were more empowered to speak to their target engagement audiences.
  • 75% agreed or strongly agreed that as a result of this session, they were more empowered to speak to people who do not share the same Jewish or environmental values.
  • 88.9% agreed or strongly agreed that they planned to use this model in speaking to one or more of their primary engagement audiences.
  • 88.9% agreed or strongly agreed that what they learned would enable them to be more effective in their community engagement efforts.
  • 97% would recommend this session or methodology to a friend or colleague with similar commitments.

Participants indicated that they intended to use this tool with a wide range of audiences. The most mentioned were synagogue members, educators, and potential funders.

The training was repeated three times between March and August 2011, with design improvements at each training. In the third training, evaluations also asked how likely people were to change their actions as a result of this training.

  • 90% of respondents were more likely or much more likely to speak publicly about their passion for the environment and social justice;
  • 90% were more likely or much more likely to overcome a fear of public speaking;
  • 90% were likely or much more likely to understand and express their motivations for environmental and social justice change;
  • 80% were likely or more likely to ask others to take actions that make a difference in their cause; and
  • 70% were more likely or much more likely to build partnerships and teams to educate their Jewish community about the environment and social justice.

While the initial trainings were led by experts trained by Marshall Ganz, Jewcology aims to bring the capacity for leading this training into the Jewish environmental world. As a next step, Jewcology will train prior participants to play a role in leading the training.

Stay tuned for upcoming trainings in 2012!

See pictures, participant guides, and recent blog posts of participants , and join the ongoing Jewcology Leadership Training conversation in the Leadership Trainings Community.

See Marshall Ganz explain public narrative in the video below: