Young Leadership Spotlight: Karen S.

Karen S.

How did you get involved with the DC Jewish community?

Prior to participating in a DC Community Birthright trip in 2009, I had been totally unaffiliated.  Upon return, I was invited to join the NEXT DC Committee to help engage local Birthright alumni and haven’t looked back since! Six years later, I find myself co-chairing the very same committee with the goal of welcoming those with the same lack of involvement, or even knowledge, of all of the wonderful things the DC Jewish community has to offer young professionals.

What made you decide to go on the NEXT DC Alumni Leadership Mission?

At the time, I was primed to take my engagement with the DC community to the next level, so the aspect of honing leadership skills, coupled with the hands on learning about The Federation-supported activities and programs in Israel was a no brainer. The chance to meet and get to know other like-minded, driven, emerging leaders in the community was invaluable.

What’s your favorite memory from the Alumni Leadership Mission?

I have to pick one?! Well one that comes to mind is meeting with Forsan Hussein, an Arab Israeli man who serves as the CEO of the Jerusalem YMCA.  His story and perspective were so incredibly compelling. I think, also, it’s a really inspiring moment when somewhere towards the end of the trip, everyone started thinking about their impact projects, realizing that the journey was just Karen S. & Friendbeginning and that when we returned, we were going to do something that would make a long-lasting impact on our community.

What are you most looking forward to about your year ahead in DC?

Co-chairing the Alumni Leadership Mission!  I couldn’t be more excited to meet the next class of leaders in our community, help them get to know each other and hone their own abilities to lead and see the amazing impact they will inevitably make on our community. <<insert period>>

What do you love about the Jewish community?

I love how inclusive and welcoming it is!  There are so many opportunities to truly “make it yours,” whether your interests are volunteering (yay Mitzvah Hoppin’!), religious, Jewish learning or social, there’s some aspect of the community that you can take part in.

Share one piece of advice you like to live by:

Leave the world a better place than how you found it.

Who is your Jewish role model and why?

Golda Meir.  She was a woman in a man’s world, never took no for an answer and had an amazing ability to connect with whomever she was speaking to.

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Karen S. and friends