It was a meeting to “put meat on the bones” of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s draft goals, and an interactive process to ensure it was all “kosher.”
There were four tables of eight set up, March 24, as some of the participants of the Federation’s strategic planning consultations gave further feedback to help refine the proposed draft mission and value statements and clarify the five primary goals.
After the initial process, the revised mission statement had become: “To advance and promote an exceptional quality of Jewish life.”
The vision was “a thriving Jewish community that is inclusive, accessible, educated and engaged,” and the values statement was divided into core values such as Torah and chesed (loving kindness) and corporate principles such as collaboration and partnership.
The goals had evolved to:
1. Increase financial resources to support the Jewish communities of Ottawa, Canada, Israel and the world;
2. Manage and communicate a transparent and responsible process to allocate funds from the Annual Campaign;
3. Foster greater co-operation and partnership among community agencies and organizations;
4. Expand involvement and engagement in Jewish life and learning, for all ages;
5. Attract and develop diverse volunteers and leaders.
Those statements may be further refined after input from the meeting’s participants. All aspects of the strategic plan – including the mission, vision and values statements – are subject to approval at a Federation Board meeting in May before being presented to the community in final form at the Federation’s annual general meeting in June.
“This is the most interactive and participatory process I’ve been involved with in more than 30 years in Ottawa,” said business transformation consultant Michael Walsh of Totem Hill, who facilitated the consultations.
Overseeing the process has been a committee of the Federation Board, chaired by Federation Vice-Chair Linda Kerzner, which includes Lauren Bronstein, Mike Shahin and Jason Shinder.
Federation Chair Steven Kimmel and immediate Past-Chair Debbie Halton-Weiss are advisers to the committee, which is staffed by Federation President and CEO Andrea Freedman and Vice-President for Community Building Bram Bregman.
The initial consultations were held in January and February, with separate sessions for different stakeholder groups, including two town hall meetings for the community.
“The priority was to assure that it was a highly interactive process,” said Kerzner. “I believe we’ve given the community as much input as possible.”
The format for the followup meeting was half report and half feedback.
In round one of the meeting, each table chose a goal to discuss. In round two, they were given a goal to discuss, and in round three, the key messages were summed up, providing each table’s takeaway. The easel pads quickly filled up with thoughtful comments.
The purpose of the second half of the meeting, Kerzner said, was to “put some meat on the bones of the goals so that they are measurable and we can report back to the community on them over the next five years. When a new idea comes along, we can look at it to decide if it’s on track. We wanted to make sure the result is tangible and the day-to-day work leads to the achievement of the objectives.”
There were 130 community members who participated in the initial sessions, producing more than 40 pages of unedited notes. Those were incorporated into the summary document.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time, and there’s still a lot of significant work to be done to make the goals measurable and specific,” said Kerzner. “We want to be clear on what we want to accomplish, and how we want to accomplish it.”
She praised and thanked Walsh for “his incredible job.
“He volunteered his time and we are so incredibly fortunate to have volunteers like Michael in our community.”
As the “takeaway” from one of the tables said, “Working together helps us all win.”
Visit www.jewishottawa.com to view the feedback analysis document from the strategic planning consultations.