The Kaplan Leadership Initiative is the first international JDC program that has set the goal of developing leadership in Jewish communities in Europe, the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Latin America (LATAM). The program is designed for professionals in mid-level positions in Jewish communities who aspire to strengthen their leadership skills and increase their impact within their organizations and communities. The program focuses on providing knowledge, skills, and tools in four areas: community development, leadership, Jewish content and context, and management.
This report summarizes the findings of the follow-up study of the Second Cohort of the program. The study sought to determine whether program graduates are still working in the Jewish community, if they have changed their roles since graduation, if they use the knowledge, skills, and tools they gained through the program, and the extent to which they are staying in touch with each other.
The follow-up for Cohort 2 graduates was conducted through semi-structured Zoom interviews in English and Russian (N=30). Research staff also sought employment information about the graduates that could not be interviewed because of language barriers and non-respondents from Kaplan Program staff (N=12).
Most of the graduates indicated that they continued to work in the Jewish community, mostly in the same place they were employed during the program. Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war posed, nearly all of the graduates maintained their positions in the community and nearly half of them were promoted as well. Compared to the previous cohort, a higher rate of graduates were promoted.
Graduates reported that the program had a great impact on strengthening their self-confidence and in the development of their professional identity. The use the knowledge, skills and tools they acquired in the areas of management and leadership in their daily work, Most graduates are part of regional networks which serve as platforms for communication and friendship. These networks were also a platform to assist refugees during the Russia-Ukraine war.
This report offers several recommendations for program improvement derived from the findings of the follow-up study concerning selection of program participants, the location of the regional seminars, learning methods (small groups and hands on, practical learning), the development of the alumni network and the involvement of alumni in future cohorts of the program.
Citing suggestion: Hasin, T., & Milshtein, E. (2022). Kaplan Leadership Program: Mapping of Cohort 2. S-218-22. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute.