2023-24 J Leaders Academy Fall Retreat: Leadership starts with Values
By Leya Aronoff, ’22-’23 J Leaders Academy Fellow and Digital Marketing Strategist for J Leaders
The fourth J Leaders Academy started off by bringing fellows together in-person for a retreat in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains. This fall retreat is built on the foundational belief that leaders who understand their own values and prioritize self-awareness, authenticity, continuous improvement, and emotional intelligence are better prepared to lead and inspire others to achieve success. With increased self-awareness, J Leaders fellows will better understand how to lead within their teams and organizations, and make a difference in the world.
The retreat was packed with expert presenters, interactive community-building activities, and time for personal reflection.
The retreat’s presenters focused on concepts and behaviors related to individual leadership.
Sim Sitkin Ph.D. presented his Six Domains of Leadership model, a comprehensive and dynamic leadership framework of leadership styles.
Next, Arnnon Geshuri talked about emotional intelligence (EQ) and leadership. In a nutshell, Arnnon shared that having a high level of EQ can help a leader better understand and collaborate with the people around them, leading to higher functioning and more successful teams.
On Saturday evening, fellows heard from Olympian Morghan King. She discussed how grit and tenacity were critical to achieving her goal of getting to the Olympics. Fellows enjoyed learning from Morghan about what it takes to become an Olympian, and how she found success during and after her Olympic journey.
The retreat wrapped up with Monica Rodridgez Kuniyoshi addressing inclusive leadership. Monica brought home the concept of how to create a sense of belonging, even among differences. One of the take-aways for fellows was the idea of creating a safe, inclusive J Leaders community with “No J Leader Left Behind”.
The retreat provided many opportunities for fellows to engage in activities that fused Judaism and leadership. On Saturday morning, fellows shared key Jewish milestones and experiences from throughout their life. From their stories, fellows defined their own personal, as well as the overall cohort’s most important values.
We also talked about the importance of building trust, a vital aspect of leadership. Fellows participated in a trust walk and unraveling a human knot to show just how important trust is when it comes to building a team.
During this fall retreat, J Leaders fellows came together to dive into their strengths and personal development, which serves as a foundation for their leadership journey. They explored their strengths and weaknesses, their Jewish story, and their values.
Fellows enjoyed the incredible presenters and interesting topics. They came away with a deeper understanding of key concepts such as emotional intelligence, inclusiveness and belonging, and trust.
Another outcome elevated the retreat experience beyond expectations. Fellows build trusting relationships with each other and the presenters through courageously sharing their experiences and insights. During times like these, fellows felt the importance of connection and community of like-minded peers.
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