April N. Baskin is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Vice President of Audacious Hospitality. Before coming aboard in August 2015, she served as the national Director of Resources and Training at InterfaithFamily. Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to social justice, April has spent 10 years advocating for Jewish diversity inclusion locally and nationally in a variety of ways, including facilitating LGBT educational trainings as a Keshet facilitator and writing a thesis about the experiences and identities of Jewish young adults of color in American Judaism.
A graduate of Tufts University, April is a member of the Selah Leadership Network and an alumna of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation’s Insight Fellowship and JUFJ’s Jeremiah Fellowship in Washington, DC. Fueled by kale ginger smoothies, April is the immediate past President of the Jewish Multiracial Network. She conducted research on the efficacy of the Earned Income Tax Credit at the Kennedy School of Government and was an Americorps fellow for the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. April was recently honored to be acknowledged as one of the New York Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36, received Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s Chai in the Hub award in 2015, and was named as one of 12 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2017 by the Centers for American Progress.
Lawrence “Larry” Bell is a Senior Trainer at NCBI International. A former Chaplain and Director of the Ministry of Racial Reconciliation at the Servant Leadership School in Washington, DC, he has been a Senior Associate and Trainer for the D.C. Chapter and NCBI International for over 7 years and a Senior Leader of the African Heritage Caucus. His expertise includes Prejudice Reduction, Conflict Resolution, Team-Building, Peer Counseling, and Spiritual Growth and Development.
For more than ten years, Lawrence Bell and the DC NCBI Chapter have been involved in an effort to help youth Stop the Hate and Prevent Violence, by teaching skills in prejudice reduction and coalition building to high school students and other young people. These young people are now leading their peers in programs designed to heal the impact of violence, reduce racism and anti-Semitism discovering love of self, and respect for others.
A grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has allowed Lawrence to guide the efforts of the DC Chapter of NCBI towards generating a social movement of youth leading their peers to deeper understanding of differences, so that violence and hate no longer stand as an acceptable way to deal with each other. This initiative has come to be known as “Living for The City”: A Student/Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. This Initiative offers courses in “Welcoming Diversity” aka ” Stop the Hate”, Conflict Resolution, and Violence Prevention.
For over 10 years, under Lawrence’s leadership, the DC Chapter of NCBI has worked to be a resource in the community to help with the issues of conflict resolution, welcoming diversity, and school/youth violence prevention. His programs have been effective in developing and inspiring team leadership in local and national organizations. His programs are designed to give voice to the voiceless and instill a since of significance in an individual’s power to make things better through teamwork and commitment.
Over the years, he has been involved in ground breaking projects that reflect the potential of his work with ordinary citizens to harvest the resources in their communities to take on potentially divisive issues and work for harmonious solutions.
Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She also consults for non-profits and serves as the community scholar for The Jewish Center in Manhattan. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, where she directed its Jewish Leadership Institute. She also held that position at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow, winner of the Ted Farber Professional Excellence Award, is a recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education and the 2012 Bernie Reisman Award (Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, Brandeis University). Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She lectures and writes widely on subjects of Jewish interest and leadership and lives with her husband and children in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Erica is the author of 11 books. Her forthcoming book is Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet (fall, 2017). She is the author of Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership (Simon and Schuster, December 2015) and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing. Her previous books are Leadership in the Wilderness (OU/Koren), Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and co-author of The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (all through Jewish Lights), In the Narrow Places: Daily Inspiration for the Three Weeks (OU Press/Koren) and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (OU/Koren) and Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada (OU/Koren). She writes a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week and London’s Jewish Chronicle and has blogged for JTA, Psychology Today and Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and tweets on one page of Talmud study a day @DrEricaBrown. She also writes Weekly Jewish Wisdom. Access her articles at ericabrown.com.
Cherie R. Brown is Founder and CEO of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit leadership training organization. Ms. Brown has an M.Ed in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and over the last twenty nine years, Ms. Brown has built NCBI into one of the leading diversity training and grassroots leadership organizations with chapters in over 50 cities worldwide. NCBI has trained over 10,000 men, women and young people in nonprofit organizations, cities, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, corporations and on college campuses around the world. These NCBI-trained leaders work together in teams to provide a powerful resource for their communities – combating prejudice, resolving inter-group conflict and launching activist-based coalitions. Ms. Brown’s work has been featured on ABC Evening News, National Public Radio (NPR), Christian Science Monitor World News; and in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Time’s Sunday Magazine, Washington Times, New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Fortune Magazine. In 1999, the work of NCBI was designated a “best practice for racial reconciliation” by President Clinton’s Initiative on Race. The U.S. Department of Education chose NCBI’s work on race and gender issues on college campuses as one of only five organizations to receive a designation of “best practice”. A partial listing of groups Ms. Brown has worked with:
United States Congress Environmental Protection Agency National Wildlife Federation Antioch Unified School District CSEA ABEL/LAWO Washington DC Police Department Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) National League of Cities U.S. Department of Education National Education Association American Jewish Committee United States General Accounting Office W.K. Kellogg Foundation NAACP Mass. Dept. of Employment & Training The Whitman Walker Clinic National Women‘s Political Caucus The Teamsters Union AFL-CIO Religious Action Center – Reform Jewish Synagogues Council on Jewish Federations National Crime Prevention Council National Assoc. of Human Rights United Way Motorola Corporation National Organization of Women (NOW)
Gabrielle Burger, Director, PJ Library
Gabrielle moved from Israel to Baltimore 15 years ago and has spent 12 of those years in the Jewish non-profit world. She has taught Hebrew school, helped converting families learn for their conversions, been a JCC camp director, and ran a Jewish outdoors pursuits ropes course before becoming the Director of PJ Library and PJ Our Way for Baltimore. Gabrielle has her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Management from University of Baltimore, yet always finds herself helping people bring Judaism into their lives through nontraditional Jewish educational experiences. Gabrielle has worked for the CJE since 2012, and has the privilege of meeting and engaging with different members of the community.
Mandy Diamond, Blue Zone Thinking
Mandy started her leadership and learning career in Australia, working as a Learning and Development Consultant for one of Australia’s major banks. This saw her move through various roles in learning and development with her focus always on leadership and team development. Mandy was responsible for developing, designing and facilitating a leadership development program for frontline managers and worked through a company merger, playing a pivotal role in the change management program. While on maternity leave with her first child, Mandy co-authored a book with Ivan Nurick, “Leaders developing Leaders”. The success of this book led her to leave her role at the bank and join Ivan at On Cue Executive development. This saw Mandy expand into Executive level leadership and strategy development as well as working with organizations at an executive level to work through cultural change. Mandy has worked globally with clients in Australia, Asia, Middle East and the USA. She has worked across a variety of industries from mining to hospitality and in both the private and public sector. Whether her focus is at a 1-on-1, team or organizational level, Mandy has the ability to connect with individuals and open their eyes to possibilities and capabilities they never thought possible. This is the foundational principle of her business, Blue Zone Thinking. Mandy has made it her mission to provide organizations (and their leaders) with the tools (and the confidence) to move beyond their comfort zones. Everything you have ever desired lies just outside your comfort zone. We refer to this space as the Blue Zone, because once you’ve broken through the barrier of comfort, the sky is the limit. For more information on Blue Zone Thinking please contact Mandy: firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-733-3672
Reut Friedman, Israel Education Senior Associate
CJE’s Israel Education Senior Associate, will be the full-time Director of Baltimore’s Shinshinim Hub. A native Israeli with an MBA from Bar Ilan University and years of experience in Jewish education in Baltimore, Reut assumes her new responsibilities immediately. In consultation with JAFI, Reut will assist with the transition of our new shinshinim to Baltimore; provide hands-on supervision of their activities in the community; collaborate with the partners who benefit from the activities of the shinshinim; facilitate the professional and logistical aspects of the program; provide budgetary oversight, time management and program development support; help with the recruitment of host families; and offer emotional support for the shinshinim.
Reut Friedman, an Israeli native, moved with her family from Israel to Baltimore. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications from Bar Ilan University. Prior to joining the CJE, she worked as a Business and Community Manager at “Mifalot Education”, a non-profit organization in Israel. She is passionate about working with the local Jewish community. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling and running.
Sam Friedman, Director of Sales Cyberbit
Although born in Cleveland, Sam can be considered a Baltimore native as he moved to Baltimore when he was 6 years old. He is one of the first Taglit Birthright success stories, as he was on the first ever Taglit trip to Israel. It was on this trip that he decided he wasn’t going to head directly to University, but take a few years off and join the Israel Defense Forces. Sam made aaliyah when he was 19 and soon after, enlisted in the Golani Brigade of the IDF. Following his service, he received a degree in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security at the IDC Herzliyah. He met his wife in his last year of studies, and when he got married, they decided it would be better for family life to transition from the physical aspects of security, to the cyber side of security. He helped build the global sales division of a database security company, called GreenSQL. It was during his time with GreenSQL that he relocated back to Baltimore to open the company’s US branch. GreenSQL was acquired 18 months ago by Chinese conglomerate Huewei, and instead of rushing back to Israel, Sam and his wife, and 4 daughters, decided to stay a bit longer to help open and build the US branch of the Israeli cyber security company, Cyberbit. Cyberbit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Israeli defense conglomerate Elbit, which is one of the largest companies in Israel.
Deborah Grayson Riegel, MSW
Deborah combines her expertise in cognitive, behavioral and social psychology, public speaking, and coaching to help leaders and teams achieve personal and professional success.
Deborah is an instructor of Management Communication at the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as a Visiting Professor of Executive Communications at the Beijing International MBA Program at Peking University, China, where she prepares senior leaders from around the world to communicate more effectively in a growing global marketplace.
Deborah holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She is a graduate of Coach U and Coaches Training Institute, and is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.
She is a columnist on presentation and communication skills for Inc. and Psychology Today, and has been a featured expert and a contributor to Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fox Business Network, and American Express OPEN Small Business Forum.
Deborah is the author of “Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success”, “Money Talks: 100 Strategies to Master Tricky Conversations About Money” and “Tips of the Tongue: The Nonnative English Speaker’s Guide to Mastering Public Speaking.”
Deborah’s approach to coaching, consulting, and training combines the use of coping models (to reduce anxiety and increase confidence) and mastery models (to accelerate learning and skills transfer, as well as to lock in behavior change).
Jill Green, Associate Dean for Student Development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School where she oversees all student-facing services. Green brings to the Carey Business School more than 20 years of legal experience.
Before joining Carey, Green served as Assistant Dean for Career Development at the University of Baltimore School of Law where she led the career development team, oversaw the externship programs, and developed public interest and leadership initiatives. Prior to joining UB Law, Green served as Visiting Clinical Professor at the University of Maine School of Law, Assistant Attorney General for the State Maine, Frank M. Coffin Fellow at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Staff Attorney at the Brooklyn Children’s Law Center, and Family Law Fellow at Penquis CAP.
Green serves as a trustee of the Baltimore Bar Foundation, on the Tahirih Justice Center Advisory Board and as a Judge in Baltimore City Teen Court. She previously served as Section Chair for Council on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, Membership Co-Chair of the Bar Association of Baltimore City, Chair of the Baltimore County Bar Association Professionalism Committee, and on the Civil Justice Board of Directors. Green volunteers as a pro bono attorney for the House of Ruth.
Green earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Pa
Lynda Katz Wilner, a Corporate Communication Specialist and Maryland licensed Speech and Language Pathologist and founder of Successfully Speaking which is located in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan are. . She is a Preferred Trainer with LDS & Associates providing professional training in Accented Speech and is certified by the Institute of Language to conduct training with the Compton P-ESL program. In 2006, Lynda and her colleague, Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker, formed a joint venture, ESL RULES, LLC, to present workshops and produce and distribute their unique training materials for accent modification and communication training. Lynda is certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and has been working with clients for over 30 years. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hearing and Speech Science from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Michigan. She is a member of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), ATD-Maryland (American Society of Training and Development), CHRA (Chesapeake Human Resources Association), ASHA (American Speech-Language and Hearing Association), MSHA (Maryland Speech-Language and Hearing Association), and was the Vice President of CORSPAN (Corporate Speech Pathology Network) from 2005-2006.
Shira Levy, NCSP, MAPP is the founder of Baltimore Thrives (BMORE Thrives) http://www.bmorethrives.org/, a local Maryland-based organization which aims to improve professional wellbeing and thriving, through workshops, coaching, counseling, and organizational consulting. She has been a school psychologist for the past 11 years and received her Master of Applied Positive Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania, founded by Dr. Martin Seligman, the “Father of Positive Psychology.” Her passion is helping to create flourishing individuals and positive organizations.
I simply love food…
I love preparing food, cooking, baking and any type of kitchen activity (minus clearing the dishwasher). I love food shopping and menu writing and meal planning. I love looking at food, smelling and touching it, and of course I love eating food!
Doing all that just makes me happy in so many ways- my name is Huppit, I’m an Israeli-American, Jewish mother of three and an educator who happens to have a HUGE passion for food.
Kate, Scherr-Adams, KS Solutions
Combining her social work background, project management skills, ingenuity, leadership and expertise over 17 years in the nonprofit sector, Kate provides quality solutions for the equity and improvement of communities. Her background in Social Work (BA) and Nonprofit Management (MA), gives her a unique perspective and a skill set to understand needs of organizations, employees, volunteers and those served. Kate has developed programs, served as a caseworker, a facilitator, and a manager, as well as a grants administrator in a variety of organizations. Kate has worked for Business Volunteers MD, the Family League of Baltimore City, The Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, Maryland Family Network, The YMCA of Metro Atlanta, among others. In 2011, Kate launched KS Solutions, tapping into her range of professional experience and her skills of strategic thinking, problem-solving and intuition about people and organizational structure. KS Solutions is a unique consulting firm, offering capacity building services to organizations by providing solutions and strategies through project management, organizational development, strategic planning event planning and facilitated learning opportunities. Kate loves her work and in particular knowing she has helped a person or an organization do a job more effectively for greater community impact. Kate’s work is driven by the beliefs of, “Stay positive, work hard and make it happen” and, “You have two hands, one to help yourself, and one to help others.” Kate is an active community volunteer, leading Civics Club with middle school students in Baltimore City, among other projects and non-profit board work. She is a nature-lover and a trained hike leader. Kate is from Columbia, MD, and believes that this unique community shaped her values and the work she continues to do. She has lived and worked in Baltimore City for the last 17 years and shares her life with her husband and her dog-child, a host of nieces and nephews and a large extended family.
Cantor Shira Stanford-Asiyo is an invested cantor through the Reconstructionist Movement. She currently works as a Program Manager for the Union for Reform Judaism. She was the Executive Director of JYCA- Jewish Youth for Community Action. She has previously served as the Rabbi/Cantor of Congregation Beth Hagivot in Fountain Hills, AZ, as a music specialist at the Pardes and Wornick Jewish Day Schools, and leads services and teaches at several synagogues in the San Francisco Bay Area. She previously worked as the Spiritual Leader of Temple B’nai Abraham in Bordentown, NJ, as the Education Director for Congregation Bet Haverim, and was a member of the Interfaith Alliance of Fountain Hills.
Committed to a vibrant and diverse expression of spirituality, Cantor Shira Stanford-Asiyo has been involved with a variety of endeavors and projects. Cantor Stanford-Asiyo also completed a degree in Holistic Health, and worked with local organic farms in a community supported agriculture program. She previously sat on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Multiracial Network, an organization that advances Jewish diversity through empowerment and community building with Jews of Color and multiracial Jewish families. Cantor Stanford-Asiyo also published essays in Torah Aura’s book, God: Jewish Choices for Struggling with the Ultimate, and collaborated with author Debra Jill Mazer as a content editor to publish the Open Eyed Heart Wide Haggadah.
Rebecca Weisman brings over two decades of work experience in the Jewish communal world. Currently, she creates professional development programs for K-12 educators and nonprofit staff through the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership housed in the George Washington University. Rebecca also brings expertise in leadership and management from her roles as a Jewish day school administrator, congregational principal, Jewish communal innovator, and nonprofit executive director.
Cheri C. Wilson, MA, MHS, CPHQ is a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competence, and health equity subject matter expert. Most recently, she was the Director, Corporate Office of Diversity & Inclusion at RWJ Barnabas Health in New Jersey. Previously, Ms. Wilson was an Assistant Scientist in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions and an Acting Assistant Director of the Quality Improvement Department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), a Past President of the Maryland Association for Healthcare Quality, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
Ms. Wilson received a BA in Russian from Howard University, an MA in Russian Area Studies from the University of Minnesota, was a PhD candidate (ABD) in Russian history at the University of Minnesota, and received an MHS in Health Finance and Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is multilingual—fluent in Russian, speaks French and Spanish with a reading knowledge of German.
Dr. Michal Zalzman is a molecular cell biologist and a stem-cells expert who made significant discoveries related to telomere biology and cellular lifespan. Dr. Zalzman was the first to report that human stem cells can differentiate into insulin-producing cells, a finding which may translate into a potential treatment for type I Diabetes Mellitus. Her findings were published in major leading journals and are heavily cited. More recently, she made a seminal discovery of a novel mechanism that controls cellular lifespan and telomere maintenance in mouse embryonic stem cells. (Zalzman et al., Nature, 2010).
The Zalzman laboratory studies fundamental mechanisms controlling telomere maintenance and cellular lifespan in two major systems: adult stem cells and cancer cells. The cancer research projects goal in the lab is to allow the development of a new class of drugs designed to target cancer immortality. Her laboratory team generates adult stem cell lines from multiple adult tissue sources and in combination with 3D printing technology the team generates novel therapies for bone regeneration and reconstruction. In additional projects the technology is use for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.