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Meet the Schusterman Fellows: Tomi Buchler

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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.

Meet Tomi Buchler below!

Tomas Buchler studied Law at ELTE University of Budapest and Jewish Studies at the Rabbinical Seminary. He grew up in Budapest and has spent time in Israel. He is a graduate of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Haifa. His work in the Jewish community includes youth work for various organizations, such as the Israeli Cultural Institute, The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Haver Foundation and the Limmud Conference. He has coordinated educational projects in the field of young Jewish leadership (Minyanim project) and social justice (Tikkun Olam project, Me2WeBudapest) for students and young adults. He is a Presentense Global Fellow, a Rene Cassin Fellow and member of the ROI Community. Tamas also works with the local Roma community in various frameworks.

1. If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?

I would appreciate a crystal ball, so I could see the long-term outcome of our work and the tremendous efforts and resources that have been invested in community development in Central-Eastern Europe. 

2. "Leadership" is a popular term these days, used in a variety of contexts. Tell us, what does leadership mean to you?

I can really identify with Ronald Heifetz's definition of adaptive leadership. He says leadership is the activity of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive. 

3. What is the greatest piece of leadership advice you have received and do you use it?

What enables one leader to inspire confidence, loyalty and hard work, while others with equal vision and intelligence stumble? The secret lies in how people deal with adversity.

I read an article during my studies by Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas that said, "extraordinary leaders find meaning in—and learn from—negative events. Like phoenixes rising from the ashes, they emerge from adversity stronger, more confident in themselves and their purpose and more committed to their work."

During my last couple of years, every time I bumped into an obstacle in my private or professional life, I found inspiration in this sentence.

4. How does your Jewish identity affect your leadership?

I think belonging to the Jewish community in our current European reality's context comes with a certain responsibility and commitment; our existence should not be taken for granted. We have a long way ahead to create the community we want to be part of—and if people like me don't take initiative, who will?

5. Who is a leader, living or dead, who you admire most and why?

Clive Lawton, founder of Limmud Conference, UK. The Limmud model tought me a lot about the potential of an ideal Jewish collective; and it's been an inspiration for my work. I believe he is a true visionary and innovator, a person who is certainly worth following.

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.