My Not-So-Typical Leadership Story

How I Found My Way to WRJ's North American Board
September 5, 2023Deb Lelchuk, WRJ Board Member

How did you wind up on WRJ’s Board?

I was invited to a reception with (now) Executive Director Emerita Rabbi Marla J. Feldman at the Pacific District Convention in 2018 and was encouraged to apply to WRJ’s North American Board. I was excited about the opportunity to take on a leadership role in such a dynamic organization.

What are three characteristics that you believe are important for a leader to possess, and why?

Empathy, collaboration, and organization. Empathy keeps a leader grounded. The leader should be able to understand the needs of those who are looking for guidance. Collaboration is required at all levels for a variety of reasons — it is easier to get something done when more hands are involved, and it is the way to nurture new leaders. Organization just makes anything easier.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader, in WRJ and/or elsewhere?

I am taking on new responsibilities, such as the Pacific District YES Fund Chair, and joining the WRJ Microgrants committee. Fundraising and allocating money are both new areas for me. Also, this year I moved from the Publicity Chair position to the Programming VP position in my Sisterhood. My new role requires a different kind of creativity.

I am also serving on a committee — as an NCJW Member — that is partnering with Jewish Long Beach (the local Federation) and the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, to present a Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate. I am learning the logistics of planning an all-day event for over 200 attendees.

What have you learned from your time on WRJ’s Board that has been most surprising to you about the organization? About yourself?

It initially surprised me how much effort is made to help Board members “stretch” into new areas and skill sets. And I appreciate that stepping out of my WRJ comfort zone generally yields positive results.

Bonus question: Are there any movies/shows or books about leadership that have really resonated with you? What was your biggest takeaway? 

Olivia Pope in the television series Scandal demonstrated the need to be very creative in solving problems.


Are you interested in applying to WRJ's North American Board? Apply now! 

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