Learning With the Field at JPRO19
By Natasha Nefedyeva
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to attend JPRO19, a conference that brought together 600 Jewish professionals in Detroit. As a professional services firm that works with Jewish organizations—and hence Jewish professionals—across multiple fields, it feels important to us to be in the places and spaces that such professionals gather to talk shop and learn with and from each other. Listening is such a valuable part of these interactions. And so it was with great excitement that I represented Rosov Consulting, eager to come back to our team with increased knowledge about current trends, strategies, and conversations that are on the minds of professionals in the field. I offer two examples:
- It was a pleasure to learn that so many organizations are committed to measurement and evaluation practices; others are curious to hear more about it and our experience and expertise. JPRO19 offered time for these conversations through grassroots meetups – sessions suggested and organized by the participants themselves. Evaluation became a topic for one of these meetups. Over lunch, more than a dozen of us got together to ask questions, share practices, and plant seeds for more conversations. Small and large organizations, grantmakers, and program providers all participated.
- Ilana Kaufman, Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, led a particularly timely session in which she revealed how great the need still is to meaningfully engage Jews of Color. At Rosov Consulting, we are continually learning about how best to adjust our data collection instruments and sampling criteria to be inclusive and sensitive; we’re thinking about how we can help ensure that this is not a blind spot for our client-partners. How can we start conversations about the inclusion of Jews of Color in community studies and needs assessments, in strategic planning, in theories of change and logic models, and ultimately in engagement work?
While our work entails different approaches and outcomes depending on client needs, relationships among people is central to all of our work. The trusting relationship we develop with our clients and colleagues is paramount. JPRO19 was an opportunity for me to talk to people in person, reconnect with old clients, and establish new connections. At our table, I shared examples of Rosov Consulting’s work and answered questions about what we do and why we do it.
Finally, JPRO19 catalyzed topical “throughlines” that participants kept coming back to (even after the conference ended), like gender equity and women in leadership roles. Working for Rosov Consulting, a company founded by a woman, I couldn’t help but wonder what our role as a company is in helping to support women and allies in our client organizations, to give them space and hear their voices? And, what can we do to continue to cultivate gender equity internally?
We will be thinking about these ideas and more thanks to JPRO19. These platforms offer the space to begin conversations, big and small, that can impact one’s work and, ultimately, influence the broader field.
Natasha Nefedyeva, M.A., M.B.A. is a Project Associate at Rosov Consulting