A launchpad for new leaders

A launchpad for new leaders

JEWISH youth engagement, equal rights for the gay and lesbian community, exorbitant Jewish school fees and transparency between communal organisations were some of the issues young Jewish adults sought to solve at the recent Launchpad Retreat. 

Held in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the three-day seminar gathered more than 90 Jewish entrepreneurs, professionals, leaders and activists from across the country for an enriching experience that nurtured the talents of individuals to improve the community.

The innovators were provided ample opportunity to network, collaborate and discuss personal, professional and societal issues.

Split into two cohorts of Generation X and Generation Y, the participants engaged in activities, incubators and workshops to enthuse and inspire them.

In the final hours, the LaunchPadders were invited to pitch the initiative they concocted on the retreat to potential donors to receive funding to help their dreams became a reality.

The retreat was funded by Australian Jewish Funders (AJF), the international Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and New South Wales’ JCA who all support strategic philanthropy in the global and local Jewish community.

The brains behind Launchpad and CEO of AJF Tracie Olcha said nurturing a network of activists and change-makers is essential for an enduring Jewish community.

“LaunchPad achieved two critical goals; helping to empower individuals as it relates to their role in building the Jewish community, and fostering a deeper understanding of how together, they can strengthen the entire community.

“By helping to create an exceptional experience, AJF has launched a generation of individuals who up until now have been consumers of Jewish life, but are now the creators of Jewish Australia.”

Olcha added, “It is a privilege to work together with leaders of the global Jewish world, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and ROI Community, and be challenged with respect to the way that we think about networks and the potential for growth.”

Director of Network Initiatives at Schusterman Seth Cohen, who travelled from Atlanta, Georgia to attend the retreat, praised the Australian Jewish community for its unwavering commitment to continuity.

“What I know from experiencing LaunchPad is that the Australian Jewish community has a strong voice to add to the global Jewish conversation, and the stronger that voice gets, the stronger the global Jewish world will become.”

While the ideas and potential initiatives develop into something more concrete, AJF has established a central hub in Malvern for members of the LaunchPad community to continue discussing, innovating and networking for the future of the community.

For more information, visit www.launchpadoz.org.


LaunchPad participants getting to know each other through games. Photo: Dean Schmideg

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