Speakers

Amy Abernethy | regional manager, Community & Medical Fitness Centers at Club One

Amy has worked with Club One since 1995 and has an extensive background in community center, commercial fitness, and corporate wellness management. Amy has been integral in helping Club One develop and implement best practices in wellness and fitness operations. For the past three years, she has served as a JCC fitness center director and has participated in evaluation and training as a member of the Club One JCC consulting team. Amy holds her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in exercise physiology, kinesiology and wellness management from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.


Stephen Hazan Arnoff | executive director of the 14th Street Y

Stephen-Hazan-ArnoffThe executive director of the 14th Street Y in New York City since 2007, Stephen has overseen the tripling of the size of the Y’s core programs and the founding of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture (www.labajournal.com). He holds a doctorate in midrash and scriptural interpretation from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and publishes, lectures, and teaches on art, religion, music, and Jewish life widely. Most recently, he contributed chapters on Bruce Springsteen and the Bible to Reading the Boss: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Works of Bruce Springsteen (Lexington Books) and Bob Dylan and religion to Dylan at Play (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). Stephen is currently a Tikvah Scholar at NYU researching a book about ancient myth, religion, and rock and roll.


Kari Bedgood | vice president of marketing & public relations at Club One

Kari oversees Club One’s marketing and public relations functions, and is responsible for lead-generating marketing initiatives, brand management, and strategic communications that support sales and growth objectives for Club One and its partners. Prior to Club One, Kari worked at Ketchum San Francisco. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University at Bloomington. An advocate for life balance, Kari enjoys morning runs and evening wine, traveling near and far, creative brainstorming, and a good book on stormy days.


Michael Bitton | mayor of Yeruham, Israel

michael-bittonOn November 23, 2010, Michael Bitton was elected mayor of Yeruham, Israel with a 44.5 percent majority, in the first municipal election in five years. His parents, Masuda and Eliyahu Biton ז”ל , emigrated from Morocco in 1963 directly to Yeruham, and Michael was born and raised there. He is married to Ilana and they have five children.
For three years, Michael was the director of the Yeruham Community Center, where he eliminated a deficit and doubled the budget. He also worked as the regional director for Beer-Sheva with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and served as director of partnerships and strategic planning at the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada (UIAFC).
Michael holds an M.A. in nonprofit organizational management through the Schwartz program from the Hebrew University, and a B.A. in behavioral studies and Hebrew literature from Ben Gurion University. He is currently a fellow at the Mandel Institution of Educational Leadership.


Peter Blair | executive director of the Harry & Rose Samson JCC of Milwaukee

Peter was named the associate executive director of the Harry & Rose Samson JCC of Milwaukee in February. Before coming to Milwaukee, he served as JCC director of early childhood education for 10 years, three at the Merage JCC of Orange County, California and seven at the Stroum JCC of Greater Seattle. Peter has worked with children and youth in a variety of settings. He led wilderness trips for youth in the American West and Canada; worked with at-risk high school students in Seattle, and led political action campaigns at universities. Peter has also served as a faculty member at Bellevue College and was an officer of the board of directors for Kidsquest Children’s Museum in Bellevue, Washington.

Peter holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and has received training in Reggio-Emilia practice from Reggio Children of Italy, St. Louis Reggio Collaborative, and the early childhood schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He completed two fellowships in Jewish early childhood education, one supported by the Covenant Foundation and another by JECEI. He frequently travels to local, national, and international conferences to speak about Reggio Emilia inspired practice and organizational change.


Alan Blank | director of marketing at Guidebook, Inc.

Alan-BlankAlan is the director of marketing at Guidebook, Inc., a mobile technology company in the Silicon Valley. Guidebook specializes in designing and building comprehensive mobile solutions for community centers, including apps for iPhone, Android, and mobile web. Alan has also worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and as a media relations specialist for the University of Rochester in New York.


Rob Bishop | co-owner of Elevations Health Club

Rob-Bishop-PhotoRob has owned and operated Elevations Health Club with Barry Klein in Pennsylvania for 17 years. In that time, Elevations has increased revenue tenfold and gone from a single neighborhood location to four locations. Rob and Barry write the “For Profits” column and blog for Athletic Business, and have presented at the Athletic Business Conference and other conferences for seven years.


Bridget Brandt | director of marketing for Sage Nonprofit Solutions

Bridget-BrandThe director of marketing for Sage Nonprofit Solutions, Bridget Brandt has presented sessions on creating loyalty through experience at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference, Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference, Charity Channel conferences, 2011 Bridge conference in Washington DC, and several chapter events. She has been published in Nonprofit Times and Advancing Philanthropy several times. Her most recent article was “Creating a Memorable Donor Experience.” Bridget is the current president and founder of Support Behind the Badge. She was selected as one of the Top 50 Women in Business by the Austin Business Journal, and has won numerous marketing awards, including two Best in Show awards for direct mail campaigns.


Joel Breitstein | executive director at Planned Giving and Endowments, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County

Joel Breitstein, currently with JMB Consulting, is an attorney with over thirty years of experience helping nonprofit organizations develop legacy, endowment, and planned giving programs. During his career he has helped to raise over $300 million in planned and major gifts; published articles in important planned-giving journals, and has given presentations to nonprofit audiences around the country. Joel lives in Tampa, Florida.


Dan Burns | director of community and medical fitness centers, Club One

DanBurnsThe director of community and medical fitness centers, Dan joined Club One in 2006 with 20 years of fitness industry experience in commercial, managed, community and medial fitness centers. Dan is focused on developing and maintaining strong relationships with Club One’s management and consulting partners. He is responsible for the ensuring the implementation of industry-leading best practices in the areas of member acquisition and retention, fitness and wellness programming, customer service and financial management. Dan received his B.S. in exercise science from Penn State University.


Mike Church | vice-president of the interactive ecosystem for Darden Restaurants, Inc

Mike Church is vice-president of the interactive ecosystem for Darden Restaurants, Inc. Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company with annual sales of $8 billion. The company owns and operates more than 1,900 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V’s restaurants in North America, employs 180,000 people and serves more than 400 million meals annually.

Mike leads teams focusing on interactive marketing, corporate gift card sales, and customer relationship marketing. He also works closely with Darden’s media planning and buying agency to help set communications strategies.

With proficiencies in both Japanese and Indonesian, Mike holds bachelor’s degrees in both East Asian studies and religion (emphasis on social ethics) from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from New York University.


Emily Comisar | manager of national projects for NEXT

Emily-CorsairEmily Comisar joined the NEXT, a division of Birthright Israel Foundation, team in June, 2009 after a seven-month stint at WNET, New York City’s public television station. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2007 with a B.A. in performance studies and earned her M.A. in Italian from Middlebury College in 2008. Emily is currently NEXT’s manager of national projects.


Stephanie Davis-Dieringer | health and wellness director for the Shaw JCC of Akron

The health and wellness director for the Shaw JCC of Akron since 2008, Stephanie received her master’s degree in exercise physiology/adult fitness from the University of Akron. Stephanie has worked with corporate, pre and post-natal, post-rehabilitation, sports conditioning, youth and geriatric populations. She has served on multiple state and national committees in regards to programs that include aquatic, community, corporate education, and individual programming in regards to health, wellness and recreation.


Ken DeGilio | founder of LaunchMob Media

kendegilioKen has been involved in marketing campaigns in the tourism, retail, and nonprofit fields for over two decades. With roles ranging from marketing director, nonprofit director and communications director, he has helped build the brands of national companies, international nonprofits, tourism attractions, entertainers and entrepreneurs.

Ken is on the faculty of Full Sail University, an award-winning entertainment and new media university in Orlando, Florida.

He is the founder of LaunchMob Media, a digital branding firm, where he assists local and national brands. Ken also uses his expertise to strengthen local community organizations. LaunchMob Media is a founding partner of HopeMob.

Ken recently received a master’s from Full Sail University in internet marketing and also has a master’s degree from Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. Ken is a Florida native, growing up in Daytona Beach, and currently resides in Orlando, Florida with his family.


Adena Raub Dershowitz | technology integrator at the Lycee Francais de New York

Adena Raub Dershowitz is the secondary technology integrator at the Lycee Francais de New York. Adena holds a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland and an Ed.M in technology, innovation and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. When she was the information manager for PELIE (Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education) she worked to create professional development strategies for Jewish educators and developed ways to infuse technology into the Jewish education field.


Marsha Deslauriers | chief financial officer at the Oshman Family JCC

marsha-deA seasoned financial executive, Marsha is passionate about guiding nonprofit organizations, balancing respect for mission with a sustainable financial model. With a background that includes Fortune 50, start-up, and nonprofit organizations. Marsha manages all aspects of accounting, finance and operations for the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, California. She has led the $20 million OFJCC through a process to restructure $80 million in debt, and she has refined financial discipline to enable the organization to achieve impressive year-over-year growth rates.

In her 20-year experience in Fortune 50 companies, she held senior positions in the financial and operational divisions for Target Corporation and Federated Department Stores, managing staffs of more than 200 employees at each. She has domain expertise in operational management with extensive experience in inventory control, distribution, financial operations, capital planning, real estate management and audit. Marsha holds an M.B.A. from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a B.S. from Skidmore College.


Allan Finkelstein | president of JCC Association

The release of the JCC Vision and Statement of Principles for the 21st Century at the 2012 Biennial Convention was a significant moment for the JCC Movement. The vision and statement of principles express the shared beliefs that tie us together, but only when they are studied (and argued and debated) locally, will they move off the printed page and into our daily lives. Allan will talk about what this means for you and your JCCs.

Allan Finkelstein assumed the position of president of the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America in October 1994, culminating a 20-year career in the JCC field. His previous positions include executive vice president of the JCCs of Los Angeles, executive vice president of the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center of Columbus, Ohio, and a variety of positions at the JCC of Greater Buffalo.

Allan is a native of Minneapolis, and received his M.S.W. degree from the University of Minnesota, where had also received his bachelor’s degree. He has continued to be active in the field of professional education, having served as the chair of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Benjamin Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University. He was a faculty member of the Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Professionals at Brandeis University from 1995-2007. He also served as a faculty member of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.


Roberta Fried | director of membership at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

The current director of membership at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, New Jersey, Robbie served in this position during a $29 million renovation and spearheaded transforming the membership model at the JCC. Prior to taking on her current role, she worked as the assistant director of the senior department at the Kaplen JCC and before that she work at UJA-Federation of New York providing grants to agencies for poverty programs. Robbie holds a B.A. in psychology from McGill University; a M.S.W. from the Wurzweiler School of Yeshiva University, as well as a certificate in Jewish Communal Service. Robbie is married to Adam Fried, and with their four daughters, they reside in Teaneck, New Jersey.


Debra Orbach Grayson | marriage and family therapist

DebraOrbachGraysonDebra has been providing direct services to teenagers, their families, and the professionals and organizations that work with teens for over 25 years. She is in private practice in Minneapolis and provides therapy and training for the Robbinsdale School District’s Alternative High School. Debra also teaches and serves as a clinical faculty member at the Adler Graduate School. Debra’s passion is to help support and strengthen family and organizational relationships.


Mark Grevelding | promotions coordinator for the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)

Mark Grevelding is the promotions coordinator for the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) and he is also an AEA Trainer. He is an international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE. Mark is the founder of Fit Motivation, a business that provides education resources for fitness professionals. He has produced several aquatic fitness DVDs, authored numerous articles and was recently the recipient of AEA’s 2011 Global Award for Aquatic Fitness Professional.


Rachel Griffiths | communication director for Aquatic Safety Research Group, LLC

Rachel-GriffithsRachel Griffiths is the communication director for Aquatic Safety Research Group, LLC, conducting water safety research to help prevent drowning and providing education about water safety to the public. Rachel also is a member of the newsletter committee for the Association of Aquatic Professionals and is currently co-writing the 3rd edition of the Complete Swimming Pool Reference. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication from San Diego State University.


Tom Griffiths | founder and president of the Aquatic Safety Research Group, LLC

Tom-Griffiths-PhotoFounder and president of the Aquatic Safety Research Group, LLC, Dr. Tom Griffiths has been an aquatic safety specialist for 40 years, including serving as the aquatic director and safety officer for Penn State University from 1986 to 2009. Tom has written seven books and hundreds of articles, created four videos, invented numerous products and has been featured in several segments in television and radio, including the Discovery Channel and “Inside Edition.”


Roslyn Kaman | chief financial officer and head of human resources at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre

Roslyn Kaman has been the chief financial officer and head of human resources at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto, Canada for the past ten years. She is originally from Montreal. She got her British accounting designation while living in London, England.

She is married to Howard and has a four year old daughter named Hannah.


Marisa Kaplan | director of JCC Without Walls

Originally from Michigan, Marisa graduated with a B.A and a M.S.W. from Michigan State University. Throughout Marisa’s graduate studies she worked for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Upon graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she began a career at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington in young adult outreach and leadership development. Marisa found her way west in August 2011 with her husband, Adam. As the director of JCC Without Walls, a partnership between the JCC Development Corporation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, she creates the vision and strategy to engage young couples in their twenties and thirties and families with young children in Jewish life, utilizing modern, convenient settings.


John Keverkamp | chief financial officer for the Jewish Community Board of Akron

John has been the chief financial officer for the Jewish Community Board of Akron (JCBA) for the past five years. A functional federation, the JCBA includes the JCC, JFS, day school and senior housing. Previously, John was the director of finance for a large nonprofit in the greater Akron area. John received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio and an M.B.A. from Kent State University. John has served on several nonprofit boards, as chairman of the investment committee for his congregation, and is a certified public accountant.


Barry Klein | co-owner of Elevations Health Club

BarryKleinBarry has owned and operated Elevations Health Club in Pennsylvania with Rob Bishop for 17 years. In that time, Elevations has increased its revenue tenfold and gone from a single neighborhood location to four locations. Barry and Rob write the “For Profits” column and blog for Athletic Business, and have presented at the Athletic Business conference and other conferences for seven years.


Jean Baugh Krisle | president of The Resource Tank

Jean-Baugh-KristleWorking with nonprofit organizations and their partners for over 30 years, Jean has developed a great respect for philanthropists and fundraising professionals. Funny, warm, and to the point, Jean has an innate ability to connect with people. A mother of six, stepmother of five, and grandmother of 16 and a peacemaker at heart, Jean is experienced in negotiations, messaging, goal setting, fundraising, and team building. She has a wealth of information to share, but is just as excited to learn from everyone she works with.


Marcy Weiner Lahav | adult, cultural and Judaic department director, Betty & Milton Katz JCC

Originally from Philadelphia, Marcy received her B.A. in comparative religions from Beloit College in Wisconsin and her M.S.W. from Temple University. Very connected to Israel, she volunteered for a year on Kibbutz Hatzor in Ashdod, graduated from the WUJS Institute in Arad, and was a counselor at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod Ha Sharon, where she met her husband Steven. Prior to her current position at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, New Jersey as the adult, cultural & Judaic director for the past 14 years, she oversaw the operations of five senior centers in Pennsylvania.


Josh Lake | creator of Outdoor Jewish Adventures

josh-lakeJosh has been hiking, camping and exploring in the outdoors for many years. He became passionate about outdoor education when he lived in Israel and realized he was hiking in the same places where his ancestors walked. Josh uses nature to create fun, exciting and memorable experiences that connect people to their Jewish roots. Josh currently lives in Portland with his wife Tamar and their daughter, Ayelet (who also loves hiking).


Jeffrey Metz | partner in Bloom Metz Consulting

JeffMetz-PhotoFor the past six years Jeff has been a partner with founder Seth Bloom in Bloom Metz Consulting, a firm specializing in nonprofit fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and leadership development. The firm has provided campaign counsel to dozens of fundraising campaigns as well as providing fundraising and leadership training and strategic planning to organizations as diverse as Partners for Sacred Places, The Salisbury Zoo, Interfaith Housing and The Governor’s Council on Hispanic Affairs. Prior to Bloom Metz Consulting, Jeff served ten years as the executive director of the Jewish Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware and six years as the assistant executive director of the JCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeff began his career as an educator in Dallas, Texas and a camp director at Tamarack Camps in Detroit, Michigan.


Jason Meyers | managing director of athletic/health and wellness at the Merage JCC

Jason is the managing director of athletic/health and wellness at the Merage JCC in Orange County California, where he has worked for ten years. Under Jason’s leadership, the Merage JCC Athletic Center has been named one of the best gyms in Orange County for three consecutive years. Jason has created and implemented many cutting-edge programs that have helped the center go from 1000 membership units to over 3000 units.

While obtaining his undergraduate degree in psychology and marketing from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Jason played NCAA Division 1 Tennis . He played professional tennis for several years, then worked in sales and marketing for small to mid-level private companies before going back to graduate school to earn a master’s in education.


Bill McBride | consultant for Gerson Lehrman Group

bill-mcbrideBill is a health-club industry veteran who started his full time career in 1986. He is internationally recognized for his expertise on the industry, leadership, management, sales, sales management, marketing, excellence in operations and designing the customer experience. Bill has presented at major industry conventions and events on five continents, and he has three training videos currently available with Healthy Learning/IHRSA on sales management, corporate sales and retention. He currently serves on Club Solutions Magazine advisory board, Club Industry Magazine’s advisory board, Zuberance.com’s advisory board, as a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader” forum, as a consultant for Gerson Lehrman Group, and is currently serving on the IHRSA Board of Directors.


Mick Nelson | facilities development director for USA Swimming

Mick-Nelson-PhotoMick’s specialty is business development, programming, water treatment and aquatic facility design, and since he moved to Colorado Springs in 2004 to help form the new facilities department of USA Swimming, the department has been involved with the development of 65 new facilities and has 60 more in the design or feasibility phase. Mick has presented at over 50 national aquatic conventions over the past 15 years.”


Sue Nelson | aquatic program specialist for USA Swimming

Sue-Nelson-PhotoAs aquatic program specialist for USA Swimming, Sue works to cultivate aquatic industry partnerships with national aquatic service organizations. Sue is the resource for programming information for both USA Swimming members and members of partner organizations. She develops and publishes new program information as it relates to total aquatic programming and assists the USA Swimming facilities department in the planning and development of new aquatic facilities as well as providing the programming that makes an aquatic center self sustaining.


Christine O’Neal | vice-president of human resources for the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment

Christine-ONealChristine is vice-president of human resources for the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment’s Orlando parks, which include SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.

Christine’s human resources career began in cosmetics and retail. Committed to helping drive professionalization of the human resources field at the time, she rapidly attained her PHR and SPHR certifications. In 1999, Christine joined Anheuser-Busch, previously the parent company of SeaWorld. As part of Anheuser-Busch, Christine held positions of HR and labor relations leadership in three domestic breweries as well as the corporate offices.


Andrew Paller | director of JCC Excellence: Benchmarking

andy-paller-web-colorAndy joined JCC Association in 2011 as director of JCC Excellence: Benchmarking, after nearly 30 years as a professional in the Jewish Federation world. Andy works directly with the 79 JCCs who have participated in Benchmarking during its eight-year history, bringing a more recent focus on sharing data collection results with the JCC field through executive summaries of findings, creation of exceptional practice case studies, and conference presentations.

Andy has served as planning director, chief financial officer and associate executive director for the New Orleans and Hartford Jewish Federations. From 2005 – 2011 his primary responsibility at JFNA was managing the Federation Benchmarking Project (FBP), an initiative to identify the activities associated with Federation excellence and to provide individual federations a management tool.

His areas of expertise include tactical and strategic planning, allocations, research, financial management, process management, performance measurement, team building and technology planning. Andy holds a B.S.W. from Cornell University, an M.S.W. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A.from the Wharton School. He currently resides in West Hartford, Connecticut with his wife Leah, and has two adult sons..


Noa Peri-Jensch | founder and president of The Global Momentum

Noa-Peri-JenschNoa Peri-Jensch is the founder and president of The Global Momentum, a training, coaching and consulting firm that specializes in high-performance teamwork, leadership training, strategic change and advisory-board facilitation. Her current clients include Marriott International, ABB Inc, Boutique hotels, JCC Association, and the Jewish Federations of North America. Noa is also chairing a committee on St. Jude’s board, Las Vegas chapter, and enjoys working with people engaged in constructive organizational and social change. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two daughters.


Thomas Plummer | founder of the National Fitness Business Alliance (NFBA)

Thomas Plummer has been working in the fitness industry for over 30 years. He is the founder of the Thomas Plummer Company as well as the National Fitness Business Alliance (NFBA), a group of industry vendors and suppliers who have banded together to provide education and trade shows to the independent club owner. Currently, the NFBA offers over 20 seminars a year across the country. Thom is in front of more than 5,000 people a year and has authored six books on the business of fitness, which have remained the bestselling books in the industry for over 12 years. He has dedicated his life to helping the young fitness professional in this industry become financially successful doing what they love, helping them set and reach goals and asking tough questions to get them thinking about their future. Thom attended Western Illinois University and attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas. He started working in the martial arts (Taekwondo) in 1976, worked as a ski instructor in Colorado for 10 years, raced bicycles in the 1970’s, reached a third-degree black belt in the 1980’s, and loves music, books and the water. He currently lives on Cape Cod with his family, travels extensively, and is presently working on his next book project!


Hilda Polanco | managing director for FMA

Hilda-PolancoThe managing director for FMA, Hilda provides practical, hands-on financial management and consulting services to nonprofit organizations. Over the last 20 years, she has built a practice focused on helping nonprofits create and maintain effective fiscal systems and policies, cost-efficient technology systems, and human resource infrastructures. Hilda is also a sought-after instructor, serving as an adjunct professor in Columbia University’s department of health policy and management, as well as on faculty with the Donor’s Forum of Chicago. Hilda graduated from New York University with a B.A. in accounting. She holds the Certification in Control Self-Assessment from the Institute of Internal Auditors awarded to practitioners who can provide guidance on risk, controls, and business objectives.
www.fmaonline.net


Deborah Grayson Riegel | President of Elevated Training, Inc. and MyJewishCoach.com

Deborah Grayson Riegel is the president of Elevated Training, Inc. and MyJewishCoach.com, where she delivers training, coaching, and speaking across industries, from financial services and advertising to law and Jewish organizations. Deborah was the director of education and training for the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence at United Jewish Communities (UJC), and also worked at the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) as the director of the only program in North America that trains senior citizens to be lobbyists. In addition, Deborah was a key player in the development of New York’s Makor/Steinhardt Center for young Jewish professionals.

A popular conference speaker for both the American Society of Training and Development and Training Magazine’s Conference and Expo, Deborah was awarded membership into the National Speakers Association in 2005. She is also a member of the Association of Jewish Community Organization Professionals, the Jewish Communal Service Association, and a credentialed member of the International Coach Federation. She has served as a trainer for JCCs of North America Biennial and Professional Conference many times before.

Deb is a visiting professor of executive communications at the Beijing International MBA Program at Peking University, China. She is also the author of Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success’ (Behrman House).


Yoni Sarason | regional director for NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation

Yoni-Sarason-PhotoFortunate to have diverse experiences ranging from a management training program for a large consumer products manufacturer to a small hi-tech start up to launching a Jewish community nonprofit, Yoni now works as the regional director for NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. In addition to being published on several blogs and webzines, Yoni has spoken to many groups of all sizes. He has spoken about Israel, the Middle-East conflict, community building, Jewish young adults in the United States, Judaism, social media, and social entrepreneurship. Cincinnati born and bred, Yoni earned a B.A. in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.


Haydn Shaw | Senior Consultant, Franklin Covey

As an author and thought leader on the subject of generations, Haydn Shaw uses laughter and reflection to help audiences increase their personal productivity and work together despite differences.

Haydn Shaw is an expert on increasing personal productivity and turning around negative work environments and negative employees, as well as helping leaders bridge generation gaps within their organizations. For over twenty years, Haydn has helped Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers, and, most recently, Millennials, work together. He is the author and developer of Franklin Covey’s workshop and two hour webinar, Leading Across Generations®.

As a senior consultant with Franklin Covey for 17 years, Haydn specializes in its leadership, execution, and personal productivity methodologies. Known for taking groups from hilarity to deep reflection, he combines rich content with “use tomorrow” tools.


Sara Sless | program director for Israel seminars at JCC Association

Sara made aliyah in 1985 from her native England. She went to work for the Jewish Agency for Israel and then at Melton Centre for Jewish Education until she joined JCC Association in 1992. She is currently the program director for Israel seminars for JCC board and staff, and members through Boarding Pass, at JCC Association’s office in Jerusalem. Sara has just completed a three-year stint as director of Sunrise Israel – a day camp for children with cancer and their siblings – modeled on the Sunrise day camp of the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, New York. Sara also devotes energy to working with JCCs to establish links with their sister matnasim (Israeli community centers).


Eva Stern | Senior Director of Training, Jewish Outreach Institute

Eva Stern is the senior director of training at the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI). Eva trains, coaches, and consults with professionals and volunteer leaders from hundreds of Jewish organizations throughout North America, including Federations, synagogues, and JCCs, to help them better find, welcome, and engage thousands of unaffiliated Jews and intermarried families in Jewish life. She addresses venues across the continent, leading informative, motivating, and interactive workshops and training sessions on creating more inclusive and welcoming Jewish communities. She also develops creative outreach programs, and conducts environmental research scans on numerous Jewish organizations and communities, helping them to maximize their potential to reach out and welcome in. Eva holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. She is a recipient of the 2010 Young Professional Award of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America.


Mike Wien | founder and president of The Specific Edge Institute

MikeWienFounder and president of The Specific Edge Institute, Mike Wien is an adjunct professor of marketing at the Hospitality School at Georgia State University, a professional speaker, and runs a consulting business. By applying over 30 years of marketing and sales experience, Mike specializes in helping entrepreneurs create marketing and business development strategies.

Mike started his career in brand management at Frito Lay where he was responsible for introducing the company’s biggest failure (FANTASTIX) and then introducing the company’s biggest success (TOSTITOS). He moved on to PepsiCo (the parent company) as director of brand management for the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group. Next, he applied his consumer products experience to Omni Hotels as their global vice president of marketing and sales. This led to the position with CitiBank with responsibility for marketing and new product development in Illinois. Cole Taylor Bank, a privately held commercial bank hired Mike to head up marketing and handle investor relations for their initial public offering. After the IPO, he joined Deloitte as part of their national marketing team and eight years later, left the big corporate life to start out on his own.

Mike has an MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a B.S in business from Colorado State University. On the competitive side, Mike has competed in 21 marathons including Boston, New York, and Chicago and the original marathon from Marathon to Athens, Greece. He has also completed three Ironman triathlons including the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii where he finished fifth in the world in his age group.


Dr. Meredith Woocher | director of research and evaluation, Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning

Dr. Meredith Woocher has over twelve years of experience conducting evaluation research and planning projects for a wide range of Jewish organizations and institutions across the country. Currently she serves as the director of research and evaluation for the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, the central Jewish education agency of Greater Washington. Previously she was the director of research and evaluation for the Covenant Foundation in New York. As an independent consultant, Meredith has conducted research and evaluation projects for synagogues, Federations, foundations, Hillels, and national Jewish communal organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in Judaic studies from Brandeis University, and a B.A. in American studies from Yale University. She lives in Rockville, Maryland with her husband and son.