Melbourne woman selected for Schusterman Fellowship

April 4, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has selected 30 outstanding Jewish professional and volunteer leaders from around the world for the third cohort of the Schusterman Fellowship.

The Fellowship is an executive-level leadership program that features individualised professional development experiences and empowers Fellows to address specific needs within their organisations.

Simone Szalmuk-Singer

Among those selected is Melbourne-based Simone Szalmuk-Singer, board director of Australian Jewish Funders .

The new cohort of Fellows hails from Jewish and secular nonprofits, as well as business and government sectors, across the U.S., Israel, Australia and Europe. Fellows are working on the frontlines of Jewish and civic engagement, education reform, service and social justice, LGBTQ and equality, and public affairs. A full list of the new Schusterman Fellows is available at:

“We need visionary, adaptable leaders, as economic, political and social conditions change over time both in the U.S. and around the world,” said Sanford R. Cardin, President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “We are investing in these Fellows to enhance their ability to help lead the Jewish community in addressing the evolving challenges and opportunities in the U.S., Israel and beyond.”

The Fellowship offers a new paradigm for leadership development in a global marketplace in which professionals show a stronger desire to align work with personal values, as well as a tendency to change jobs every few years. Through the program, the 30 Fellows will gain critical leadership skills, form a strategic network of peers and maximise their potential for fostering Jewish organisational and societal change.

Simone told J-Wire: “I am honoured to be a Schusterman Fellow. As an Australian, I am excited to share experiences with fellow Jewish leaders from around the world and together expand on the Jewish future’s boundless potential. Specifically, I am looking to this incredible opportunity to help me enrich my knowledge of best-in-class leadership practices for professionals and lay leaders in the Jewish world. I plan to use what I learn to develop a collaborative roadmap to inspire an enthusiastic and talented leadership pipeline within the Australian Jewish Community.”

In its third year, the Fellowship will build on successes and lessons from the first two cohorts. A recent evaluation showed that more than 90 percent of Fellows report taking on increased professional responsibilities after participating in the Fellowship, and 10 have received formal promotions. To date, Fellows have developed and implemented initiatives to address organisational culture issues, create measurable definitions of excellence, revitalise strategic planning processes, build board and governance structures and strengthen movements within the Jewish community to address pressing challenges such as child abuse and women’s rights.

“Our hope is to create a powerful ripple effect in which Fellows are able to apply what they are learning in real-time to advance the missions of the organisations and communities they serve,” says Abby Saloma, Senior Program Officer who directs the Fellowship program. “The Fellowship is designed to enhance each individual’s unique strengths while also equipping them with the hard skills upon which their organisations can rely.”

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach that trains everyone on the same set of competencies, the Fellowship enables individuals to pursue customized development experiences that best meet their personal and professional needs.

Fellows were selected through a competitive application process. Each Fellow will participate in individualised and cohort-based learning; work closely with an executive coach to create a customised leadership development plan; receive a stipend to participate in leadership advancement programs; and create a plan to address a pressing challenge in their organisation.

The Fellowship is part of Schusterman’s broader efforts to work in partnership with other organisations and foundations to transform how the Jewish communal sector invests in professional and volunteer leadership. It reflects the Foundation’s belief that exceptional professionals and volunteers are key to building a strong ecosystem capable of growing the number of people actively engaging in Jewish life and drawing on Jewish values to create a positive impact.

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