Cohort-Based Experiences Initiative: Phase II – Emerging Outcomes & Implementation-focused Reflections

August 7th, 2023

Launched in early 2022, the Cohort-Based Experiences (CBE) Initiative – spearheaded by the Jim Joseph Foundation in collaboration with Maven Leadership Consulting – was developed based on the belief that cohort participation can lead to learning, connection, and enrichment that can ultimately contribute to employee retention within the Jewish communal sector. The Initiative was designed to: 1) unlock the power of cohort experiences; 2) understand the factors contributing to their success; and 3) explore ways to democratize and expand access to cohort experiences within the Jewish communal ecosystem.

The planning and implementation of the first phase of the Initiative (January 2022-July 2022), was documented by Meredith Woocher, PhD on behalf of Rosov Consulting. Documentation of the Aleph Cohorts demonstrated “the importance of momentum, trust, and reputation for cohorts to succeed.” Conversely, Woocher also observed that uncertainty about the future of the cohorts disrupted the momentum of trust and relationship building that contributes to the impact of the experience.

More than 120 Jewish professionals participated in 12 cohorts during the second phase of the initiative, which took place between October 2022 and May 2023. Based on lessons learned, the CBE team made several programmatic adjustments. A new model of recruitment was explored, which relied on crowdsourcing and self-identification. In addition, external facilitators were trained to lead the Bet Cohorts. The CBE team continued to support Aleph Cohorts’ professional development. Two Gimel Cohorts were also supported.

Cohort-Based Experiences Initiative: Phase II – A project of Maven Leadership Consulting in collaboration with the Jim Joseph Foundation, by Tobin Belzer, PhD, June 16, 2023