Brian Schreiber, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, shared the nonprofit’s resilience strategies during the Dec. 8 Zoom webinar “Managing for Resilience in a Crisis.” The JCC was one of two “exemplary organizations” highlighted in the event.
The webinar, hosted by the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise and in collaboration with Case Western University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, featured four speakers: Dennis R. Young, professor emeritus at Georgia State University and visiting professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences; Noha Ryder, CFO of Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire; Mark Young, director of the JCC Association of North America’s JResponse initiative; and Schreiber. Dennis Young explained organizational resilience while Ryder, Schreiber and Mark Young described resilience strategies used by their respective organizations, Apollo’s Fire and the JCC, in separate presentations and in a Q&A.
“Resilience has been our unofficial mantra at the JCC for the past two years and will help us emerge from the pandemic strong and resolute,” Schreiber said in a press release, a sentiment he echoed during his presentation.
Lessons learned following the Oct. 27, 2018, attack at the Tree of Life building informed the JCC’s response to COVID-19, he said.
“In the response to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting all the way into the pandemic,” Schreiber said, the JCC’s leadership learned a lot about what it means “to lead by example.”
Schreiber has personally sought to do just that: He is now licensed as a child care professional, allowing him to escort children out of the building since parents cannot come in.
“I would not call that the standard CEO role, but in a pandemic, the rules of the game have changed,” he said. “[It] isn’t just about the fact that I’m supporting the staff but it’s also about the visibility of the CEO to help staff stay resilient so they don’t see me just sitting in an executive office.”
The JCC’s strategies for resilience include diversifying revenue sources, pivoting when needed and giving employees a reprieve. This year, they will have Dec. 25 off.
Developing resilience isn’t just for moments of crisis, said Schreiber: “I think that resilience is a form of culture-building. Culture-building is something that has to happen intentionally every day — so not only are you built for crisis, but you’re built to be a thriving organization.” PJC
– Kayla Steinberg