Friedman Fellow Spotlight: Madeline Suggs
How has your community work been impacted since starting your fellowship?
Participating in the Friedman Fellowship has greatly improved my community work. It gave me the tools to work more effectively with lay leadership and sharpened my ability to think through community wide issues through a Jewish lens. I’ve been able to grow by talking through common obstacles with my peers and gaining an outside perspective on any issues I may be facing. It is also encouraging to have a space to celebrate each other’s successes and learn from them together.
What would you like to accomplish once your Fellowship is completed?
My long-term goal is to serve as the Executive Director of a Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). Although many JCRC staff members are women, very few of their directors are. Serving as a female director could bring a valuable new perspective to a JCRC’s communal work and encourage innovative new ideas. In the near future, I look forward to finding engaging new ways to attract members of the Jewish community to interfaith, inter-ethnic and social justice learning through the $22,000 Samuel I. Rosenberg Endowment Fund grant I have received for the 2017-2018 program year.
What have you used you Friedman Fellowship funds towards?
So far, I have used my fellowship funds to attend the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Conference in Atlanta, GA. At this conference, I served as a convention fellow alongside 19 other young Jewish women. It was an empowering experience to learn about the work NCJW does to engage women in the local political process on issues important to the Jewish community. It was an inspiration to learn from participants who have been active members of NCJW for over 50 years and are still engaged in political work. In August, I will be traveling to Chicago to participate in a Midwest Academy training. The Midwest Academy trains professionals from a variety of backgrounds on skills to better engage mobilize and sustain their membership. The skills I will build at this training will greatly strengthen my community relations work for BJC and ensure that we are able to continue growing and improving in the coming years.
Do you have a favorite leadership quote or mantra?
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde
Share a bit about yourself: what do you do outside of work?
I am a proud owner of a rescue pit bull from the Maryland SPCA and can often be found at the park or on a hike with my dog. I’m also involved in social justice work through several local groups, now including NCJW.