StrongTogether: Three Memphis Women Chosen For Prestigious National Cohort

“We are all very similar in many ways, but we live in these different communities, have different backgrounds, and have different experiences with volunteering and running programs,” said Jaclyn Marshall, one of three dynamic Memphis women nominated by Memphis Jewish Federation and selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the prestigious Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) national leadership program, Emerge. “It feels great knowing that there are all these women like us in other communities, doing great things. Making connections with these people goes a long way. We strive to get more people from our peer group involved, and figure out the best strategies on how to achieve that.”

With research suggesting that women make the philanthropic decisions in the majority of households, this new and highly selective initiative seeks to inspire female philanthropists under the age of 45 who are stepping forward as Jewish female leaders.

“Engaging and empowering the next generation of Jewish community leaders is a priority for Memphis Jewish Federation,” said Cindy Finestone, Memphis Jewish Federation board chair. “When we were approached to take part in the inaugural year of the National Women’s philanthropy Emerge leadership program, we were excited to nominate Jaclyn, Jana Weiskopf, and Elana Kahane based on their talents and have them represent Memphis. I look forward to hearing about their experiences and ideas from this program that will help us shape the future of Jewish Memphis.”

Jaclyn relocated here from San Francisco several years ago, and quickly jumped into the fold, currently serving as Vice Chair of Leadership Development for Federation’s Executive Committee, Co-Chair of its young adult initiative FedLED, and member of the Community Grants Committee. Jana, a life-long Memphian from a multi-generational Memphis family, serves as a member of the FedLED Council and the Community Grants Committee. Another life-long Memphian from a multi-generational Memphis family, Elana, is a past PTA president of the Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South and currently sits on the school’s PTA board.

“I have been surprised with how focused Emerge has been on self-discovery and self-reflection. I am recognizing that I have a greater skill set from past experiences than I realized. I’ve done this type of training before but it’s almost like I’ve been out of practice,” said Jana. “I haven’t been in the workplace or been in major leadership roles in the past decade, but thanks to Emerge, I’ve been reminded of my skill set and the value that I can bring to leadership. I get joy out of being involved, making connections, and being passionate about my goals. I’m an innate helper, so this program has been great for me.”

The 25 Emerge women from seven Federation communities are learning from peers and a broad array of Jewish communal leaders and speakers. Engaging in immersive, monthly virtual programming focusing on personal and spiritual growth, cohort and community building, and leadership training and mentorship, the program culminates with their participation in the January 2022 International Lion of Judah Conference. Post-program, these women are charged with taking home their newly-honed skills and valuable experiences to strengthen women’s philanthropy and leadership in their local communities.

“My participation in this national cohort has introduced me to inspiring leaders from across the country and helped expose me to many of the differing issues which sister Jewish communities are facing,” said Elana. “The passionate dialogue we have had has been both enlightening and empowering. I feel, with each session, that I am growing as a leader and becoming better positioned to help strengthen our wonderful Jewish community.”

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