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 Brachie Sprung below!
Brachie Sprung is a Senior Advisor for International Affairs and Media to the Mayor of Jerusalem. In this capacity, she is responsible for developing strategy and setting priorities for all aspects of international engagement, media and public relations. Brachie manages the building and maintaining of key relationships with business leaders, international brands and institutions, philanthropists, and political and diplomatic leaders on behalf of the City of Jerusalem and the Mayor.
Prior to joining the Mayor's team, Brachie served as Associate Director of PresenTense, an organization that promotes social entrepreneurship among communities around the world. Brachie helped organize and hosted TEDx Jerusalem in 2012 and co-created the Magid Project, a Schusterman Connection Point, to help Israeli leaders discover their original voices. Brachie is married to Ari and they live in Jerusalem with their two energetic sons, Nadav and Gilad.
1. What is the greatest piece of leadership advice you have received and do you use it?
I attended the INTV conference in Jerusalem where Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO shared his personal mantra: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." The idea is that you can have the most detailed and precise strategy for a company or organization, but at the end of the day what matters most is creating a culture of openness and transparency where everyone has a voice, and this really resonated with me. Being able to empower colleagues and acknowledge the unique perspectives that they bring to the table is critical in the work that I do at the Mayor's office.
2. If you were given a surprise day off, how would you spend it?
I would take my kids out of school for the day and take them to the forest for a hike and a picnic lunch. I grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv surrounded by greenery and forests and nature was a big part of my upbringing. I love life in the city, but it is important for me to make sure that my kids have a healthy dose of nature and learn to appreciate it the way I do. Giving my boys the opportunity to run free, without worrying, is a gift and something I cherish.
3. How does your Jewish identity affect your leadership?
We have such exemplary leaders to look up to with such diverse leadership skills. At different points in my career and my life, I have been able to look to Jewish leaders past and present to gain inspiration and perspective. Nachshon ben Aminadav, who jumped into the Red Sea before the waters split, taught me that sometimes we need to dive into the water first, despite the risk involved. Esther, Queen of Persia taught me the importance of relationship building by dining with the king twice before making any requests of him. The examples are endless.
4. If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
On a recent visit to Jerusalem, Michael Bloomberg said that public servants do not receive high financial compensation, but they are rewarded with the knowledge that they are impacting millions of lives and making their cities and the world a better place. In my role with the Mayor, I have the opportunity to meet with inspirational people, most recently Henry Kissinger, on a near daily basis. These meetings provide me with great perspective and make me realize that I am part of something a lot bigger than myself. These opportunities are compensation much more valuable to me than money.
5. What are you most excited to gain from the Fellowship? What are you most looking forward to learning?
I believe that I am at a critical point in my career where I would benefit from access to a community of skilled mentors and teachers, as well as being part of a network of professionals who can help guide me as I grow and develop professionally. I am grateful for this opportunity to take part in a journey with other individuals who are committed to the Jewish community and tikkun olam. I believe that dedicating time to personal growth will boost my ability to perform my job to the best of my ability.