Young Leadership Spotlight: Jenny D.


What brought you to DC? 

I am from Texas and have lived there most of my life. I was in Austin, TX nearly a decade before coming to DC. I was looking for new opportunities and DC had always been appealing. I was up here visiting a friend and while on that trip I decided to casually look for jobs in DC. Little did I know that three weeks after that visit I would be back for an interview!

How and WHY did you get involved with Federation’s Young Leadership?

I was pretty involved in my Jewish community in Austin. Once I realized that I was planning to stay in DC, I decided to dig in and roll up my sleeves. I have met some of the most incredible people, and been a part of some really great events. The connections that Federation provides in both inter and intra generational relationships is really remarkable.

I hear you recently started a new program called Party of Ate. What is this and how did it start? 

I am so very excited about this! I came up with this concept as a part of my impact project on The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s NEXT DC Alumni Leadership Mission (ALM). After coming from back from the ALM trip to Israel, participants work with Federation professionals to develop a new initiative that can have a positive impact on our local Jewish community – and Party of 8 (Ate) was my project.

The concept is very simple. Sign up for the event at this link. The week of the event each registrant will get an email letting them know what restaurant they will be at. It’s exciting because there are 7 other people assigned to your table. You have no idea until you arrive at the restaurant who else you will meet, only that your tablemates have been hand-picked based on a quick survey everyone fills out. After dinner, all the participants come together at a bar close to the restaurant so that all the tables can cross-mingle and mix. You also now have a group to go to this mixer with so that no one has to walk in alone.

The first Party of 8 (Ate) dinner is Saturday, September 24. I know that I feel very overwhelmed at happy hours and when I first arrived in DC I was looking to meet people in a smaller setting. I was part of a variation on this event in Austin, TX and it had always been one of the biggest draws there as far as events. I am so lucky to work with Audrey Lamb in planning what we think will be an awesome event, particularly since she is a professional planner!


What do you hope people will get out of Party of Ate?

The goal and really our target audience are those who don’t feel comfortable at traditional Jewish events, but want to meet others in their community in a small, intimate setting. It also takes the element of getting together with others from the community and gives this a sense of familiarity by holding it at some of the most popular restaurants in the DC area. We also take the pressure off of the event by leveling the playing field and putting all participants at a table where they don’t know others.

We are a generation that connects to experience and elements of tradition. I personally think that the personal bonds with others is the strongest connection we have, and will have to our community. I want to shake things up and draw in those who have never thought to participate in other events or functions. I met one of my best friends at one of these dinners in Austin and would never have talked to her if we had not been placed at a table together.

What’s your favorite way to spend free time in DC?

There’s nothing I love more than being outside. So, my perfect day might be a bike ride, an outdoor concert and roof deck drinks. I’m also a culture vulture, so any of the many festivals in DC – I’m absolutely down for!


What is your favorite High Holiday food?

I’m not sure if this is a holiday food, but chocolate babka is totally my kryptonite. That, and fresh baked challah from Pamela R. 🙂