DJJ Restructuring Process Overview & Key Insights

Since Eleanor Gamalski left the staff team in January, Susannah Goodman has been facilitating an incredible transition team of DJJ leaders and friends with deep movement experience to restructure our staff team. Check out the process these folks used and the insights they generated here. 

DJJ Strategic Restructuring Process Overview

  • Planning conversations immediately in wake of Eleanor’s departure
  • Susannah hired as a part-time, contract-based consultant
  • Staff interviews with Rabbi Alana, Valeriya, Eleanor, Jake, Lauren
  • 6 team members - Lydia Levinson, Eitan Sussman, Raya Samet, Aj Aaron, Hannah Miler, Meredith Quinlan
  • 4, 2-hour meetings
  • 25 interviews of leaders and community partners, all 1-hour or more
  • Suz-R'Alana weekly meetings, guiding process

Key Insights

Strengths

  • DJJ is well-respected by community partners
  • DJJ has well-facilitated meetings and processes
  • People love being together, collaborating on campaigns and events - a variety of “favorite moments” covering many types of work
  • Most leaders felt their skills and talents were well-utilized
  • Rabbi as ED is an advantage, Rabbi Alana is a prophetic and respected voice in community
  • Valeriya is well-organized and accessible
  • Eleanor was very approachable and inviting to new leaders
  • Folks love our staff team, and desire more time with them (best way to show gratitude)

Challenges/pain points

  • Appreciation of active leaders - event and campaign leader burnout, not feeling thanked for labor
  • Not enough access to staff/confusion about who’s job is what “Whom do I call when…”
  • Some spaces not age-inclusive, child/parent friendly
  • Communications - too meaty to be absorbed, not horizontal enough (leaders accessing other leaders)
  • Training folks who keep moving away - loss of investment
  • Similar to the fact that our core principles are occasionally in tension with one another, our leadership base also demonstrates tension in ideology - often healthy, often challenging

Gaps

  • Suburban Jewish outreach
  • Follow-up from new leader orientations, maintaining larger active base
  • Organizational operations - HR/Finance policy/practice
  • A clarified, robustly-used “Ladder of Engagement” - transparent organizing method that allows leaders to know where they’re at, where they’re going
  • Regular schedule check-ins and support for Liaisons
  • Thorough tracking what we care about to bolster our sense of our work, help us pivot, grow and shift

Questions

  • What should be expected of a leader/liaison/campaign chair?
  • What are reasonable goals for our suburban outreach?
  • How much time/focus should the organizer put into the primary campaign?  Who is the ‘face of org’ with community groups?
  • Interns - staff time value-add?  Other oversight mechanisms for this program?

Pictured above: Hannah Miller, Susannah Goodman & Aj Aaron at a final meeting of the transition team


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