Yesod: A new way of thinking about leadership

In 2016, Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul launched the 9th cohort of the Harry Kay Leadership Institute (HKLI), a leadership development program to inspire and assist emerging leaders to address issues and challenges facing Jews.

As the curriculum for HKLI took shape, Director of the Harry Kay Center for Leadership Excellence Lauren Kaplan and others in the Minneapolis community began to realize something was missing: senior leadership development that catered to experienced leaders.

“The Harry Kay Leadership Institute is meant for ages 30-45,” says Lauren, “For many people in our community, that wasn't the right time in their lives to devote to leadership development— but they’re interested in participating slightly later in life.”

When Lauren came across the Yesod curriculum, she found it fit perfectly into the holes she saw in our community. “Receiving quality leadership training shouldn't have an age limit,” she says. “That's where Yesod comes in.”

Yesod, a nine-week executive leadership program, was developed by the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning and Dr. Erica Brown, and is facilitated locally by veteran educator Meryll Page. The curriculum uses case studies, reflective exercises, and Jewish texts to focus on personal and organizational leadership skills.

“There is so much talent and passion in Minneapolis, and nurturing that talent is one of the best things we can do for our community,” says Lauren. “Our community has made it clear that advancing leadership development is a priority, and through Harry Kay Leadership Institute, Yesod, and other programs still in the planning stages, Minneapolis Jewish Federation is committed to meeting that priority.”