Over the course of 18 months, 24 outstanding Jewish professionals will engage in a customized professional development journey as part of the Schusterman Fellowship. The Fellows come from across the U.S., Europe, Israel and Australia, and they work inside and outside of the Jewish sector. As part of this blog series, we'll be bringing you short interviews with each of the Fellows in which they'll share a bit about themselves and their vision for the future.
Meet Jordan Fruchtman below!
Jordan Fruchtman is the Chief Program Officer (CPO) of Moishe House. He has been involved in hands-on service work since high school. In college, at UC Santa Barbara, Jordan founded BRIDGES, an organization pairing college students and homeless families. As the Regional Director of the Forest Foundation, Jordan oversaw a team of Program Directors and worked on over 50 unique community building and leadership programs.
Jordan attended the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University, graduating with an MBA and Masters in Jewish Professional Leadership, where he was awarded a PLP Academic Fellowship and Hebrew Senior Life Management Internship. Prior to Moishe House, Jordan served as the Executive Director of Hillel in Orange County, CA, building Jewish life at UC Irvine and Chapman University.
Jordan is happily married to Rachel Fruchtman and resides in beautiful North County San Diego.
1. "Leadership" is a popular term these days, used in a variety of contexts. Tell us, what does leadership mean to you?
I like this question because I have been seeing the word leadership in so many different applications that it has lost some of its initial meaning to me. I am excited about leadership for the sake of doing. My personal focus is on leadership when it relates to building community and having the ownership and power to make change.
I have sat on a couple of boards in my life and though these were seen as leadership positions, I was not afforded an opportunity to build community or truly lead. I hope to create more leadership opportunities that create community.
2. What is the greatest piece of leadership advice you have received and do you use it?
I had a 2-hour lunch with a donor when I was the Executive Director of Hillel. I swear I spoke for a total of 3 minutes during that lunch and spent the rest of the time listening or asking questions (he had a lot of ideas to share!).
At the end of the meal the donor told me that I was one of the smartest young men he had met, and I was blown away. It turned out that listening and asking questions was the best thing I could have done and that's has been a valuable lesson in my career.
3. How does your Jewish identity affect your leadership?
My Jewish identity gives my leadership purpose. I have tried leading outside the Jewish community as well and though I feel I can make a positive impact, there was always something missing.
My Jewish identity gives me a sense of shared history and values and makes leadership feel like an honor or sacred duty. Winning is great, but winning for my community is the next level for me.
4. Who is a leader, living or dead, who you admire most and why?
I know they're not a real person, but I would have to say MacGyver. I think he was an incredible leader as far as fictional TV characters go. The way he operated was to see all things and people around him as resources. He solved each problem in a unique way based on re-imagining how things can work.
I like working with leaders who see possibility and do not let anything get in their way of succeeding. I also value flexibility because it's about the end result/goal and less so how we get there or which tools we use.
5. If you were given a surprise day off, how would you spend it?
I am a new parent. It's so cheesy, but I really would spend my surprise day off with my daughter. The other afternoon I made her laugh outloud and it was a uniquely overwhelming and positive experience. I would spend the day with her and try to make her laugh as much as possible!
On the less cheesy side I would love a surprise day off so that I could head out early in the morning and go snowboarding for the day to experience the speed rush, beautiful nature and the feeling of freedom.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.