Everyone’s Professional Journey Can Add Value to a Team
October 31st, 2022
When I accepted my position at the Jim Joseph Foundation earlier this summer, I was beyond excited, proud, and, to be honest, a little bit nervous. I am new-ish to San Francisco and moved between three States last year. This is my first in-person hybrid office role in over two years and the first role in which I focus exclusively on grantmaking.
I am still navigating many parts of what is new and feel very fortunate that I am surrounded by people who want to teach me, support me, and assure me that it is ok to be vulnerable. At the same time, those very same people also want to learn from me. This gives me a sense of pride and confidence as I continue to find my footing. Whether sharing how I approached experiential program design for the Seattle Jewish community or how I navigated building positive workplace cultures across multiple sectors and countries, I can bring helpful insights to the practice of trust-based Jewish philanthropy. This collaborative workplace framework—in which professional team members are simultaneously students and teachers—aligns beautifully with hitlamdoot, the Jim Joseph Foundation staff value of ongoing learning.
As I reflect on what helped lead me to this role at the Foundation, certain experiences, traits, and practices stand out as particularly formative and have served me well. Everyone has their own list of formative moments that evolves and grows over their professional journey. The Foundation believes that the best grantmakers have rich experience working in other settings and can bring direct field experience to their roles. In this regard, any organization looking to add new professional team members can keep in mind the array of candidate experiences and backgrounds that might add value to their professional team. Cultivated at different stages of my academic and professional career, here are some of the ways I approach my work and look to elevate the new professional team around me:
My experiences over many years shaped the professional I am today and how I show up in the world. Some of my Foundation team members share these experiences and traits. In other instances, I am bringing something entirely new to the team. As organizations hire new team members, candidates’ backgrounds, experiences, and practices can both add something new and reinforce how a professional team approaches its work. Different perspectives from different team members help to make a better team. Recognizing the value of different kinds of experiences will help our field bring new voices from a variety of career paths into the mix, ultimately expanding the field’s pipeline and strengthening our collective impact. I am grateful for this opportunity where I can continue learning, leading, and creating change alongside an incredible community of colleagues.
Jenna Hanauer is a Program Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation.