An initiative of

Are you a senior professional or volunteer board/committee member at a Jewish for-purpose organisation?


Are you looking to recharge your leadership skills to navigate through these times of uncertainty?


Are you looking to pivot and reimagine your organisational offerings?



"LaunchPad Leadership" is a unique opportunity to:


Develop your personal leadership brand;

Connect with a cohort of like-minded leaders;

Be inspired by Jewish wisdom, values and learnings;

Have access to cross-communal and inter-organisational collaboration grants; and

Receive individualised professional development grants.

LaunchPad Leadership is a 3 month online program that empowers leaders of Australian Jewish for-purpose organisations with skills and resources to lead their organisations through change. Blending Jewish values with technical skills and leadership theory with experiential learning, the program is designed to nurture and develop a cohort of empowered leaders.


Jewish community organisations are facing unprecedented challenges as

they navigate the new realities and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis.


LaunchPad Leadership seeks to develop a culture of leadership development  and connection in the Australian Jewish for-purpose sector by building a network of senior professional and lay leaders to collaborate, innovate and navigate complexity for the purpose of ensuring a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community in Australia.

As the network of funders inspiring effective philanthropy and strengthening community, Australian Jewish Funders (AJF) has seen firsthand the urgency to support communal organisations pivot. It is evident that things are not simply going to return to the way they were before the outbreak of this pandemic, so it is up to the leaders of our community to pre-empt and prepare for this ‘new normal’ as it starts to arise.


Themes that will be explored include:

Scenario planning;

Design thinking;

Communication and leadership presence;

Organisational strategy and culture;

Change management;

And more.




Leadership Growth

Through various introspective and reflective processes, leaders will be supported to develop self-awareness, embrace vulnerability and build empathy to become more attuned to their effectiveness.



As the world rapidly shifts and changes, it is increasingly important for leaders to be equipped with contemporary modalities to lead through contemporary challenges. The program will provide a series of cutting-edge skills and tools that can be applied and refined to the leaders’ unique leadership contexts.

A Leadership


Leaders need peers and confidants; people who they trust and with whom they can speak freely and

authentically, as well as spaces that offer support and nurturance. This leadership journey is centred around the creation and curation of a cohort for its members to turn to and lean on.



We recognise the canon of Jewish text, thought and ritual as a source of inspiration for the soul and wisdom for leadership. Drawing on fundamental Jewish values and integrating Jewish sources, this unique experience will be focussed with a view to building Jewishly literate leaders in the community.


Dave Grants

Through this platform, leaders will be able to actualise and implement their core learnings from the leadership journey and discover what is possible as they seek to engineer a more dynamic Jewish Australia. Leaders will be eligible to apply for Collaboration Grants to put their learnings into practice and facilitate cross-communal and inter-organisational partnerships, endeavours and projects. 

Professional Development Dave Grants

Each leader has individualised needs to assist them lead their organisation through change. To enable specific skills required, participants will be provided with a professional development grant to further develop skills they wish to strengthen.



We are looking for senior professionals and lay leaders (including board and committee members) in a position of influence within Jewish organisations across Australia, of all ages and across the diverse Jewish landscape. Such individuals have a growth mindset and are open to learning and finding new ways to lead their organisations and communities. 


To apply you must also:

  • Have the ability to commit to at least 90% of the program;

  • Have capacity to put your learning into practice by implementing new ideas within your leadership approach and organisation; and

  • Be open to cross-communal and inter-organisational partnerships, endeavours and projects for the benefit of the Australian Jewish community.



Due to COVID-19 restrictions,

the program will be delivered online.



3 months

2 hours / week online programming

30 mins - 1 hour / week offline reflection,

reading and preparation work

+ 4 hours on 1 Sunday In October



Week 1: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 2: Wednesday, September 2, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 3: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 4: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 5: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 6: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 7: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 8: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 9: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 10: Sunday, October 25, 2020 4 hours, time TBC

Week 11: Wednesday, November 4, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 12: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 13: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 14: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10am - 12pm

Week 15: Tuesday,December 1, 2020 10am - 12pm


LaunchPad Leadership has been generously supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, local AJF members, Erdi Foundation, Debbie Dadon, Phil and Sue Lewis Family, Szalmuk-Singer Family, Belinda Bardas and Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation.




We thank Shalom and JCA for their unwavering support of LaunchPad over the years as our program partners.


The cost of the program is $500 + GST per person and includes:

  • 3 months of expert facilitation;

  • Guest speakers, masterclasses, Leadership Labs and virtual programming;

  • Personal / introspective analyses and goal setting;

  • Guided independent offline learnings between virtual sessions;

  • Learning materials;

  • Access to a network of fellow leaders;

  • Access to “Collaboration Dave Grants”; and

  • Access to Professional Development Grants.


Subsidies available and can be requested in the application form.



Applications are now closed.




Opher Yom-Tov - Chief Design Officer, ANZ Banking Group

Opher spent almost a decade with the global innovation powerhouse IDEO, first in Silicon Valley and then leading their Shanghai start-up office. He has helped develop products, services and innovation capability for corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Nike, GE, BP, McDonald’s, Procter and Gamble and Pfizer.


He then led the Customer Centred Design team at Westpac and their wealth arm BT Financial Group, charged with building Innovation and design thinking capability and creating new products, services and experiences for the group. Westpac Group have launched a number of award winning insurance, superannuation, online banking, investment and financial advice offerings through this approach that have collectively attracted billions of dollars under management.


After a 3 year adventure co-founding a technology startup, he joined ANZ as Chief Design Officer, the first such role of any bank worldwide.


Opher has 2 objectives:

1.    Enable all of ANZ to apply Human Centred Design to build unique propositions and solve tough problems.

2.    Build and lead a community of world class designers that create meaningful customer, staff and banker experiences.

Rachel Flitman - Senior Human Centered Design Consultant, Aurecon

Rachel is a human centred design consultant and community builder based in Sydney. Raised in a Jewish secular humanist home with a strong post-Holocaust legacy, her personal and professional life has been founded on values of resilience, pluralistic expression and empathetic connection. 

Adept at facilitating people-centric approaches to projects, Rachel works with global infrastructure and advisory firm Aurecon, driving creative engagement and design-led thinking to build understanding of complex problems, enable a deeper understanding of users and generate innovative outcomes. 

Previously Rachel worked with Australian Red Cross to build resilience, delivering experiential disaster preparedness education programs and campaigns nationally. She has also worked as chief speech writer and public affairs advisor to the Israeli Ambassador in Australia and as Sydney Hillel Director. Through Hillel, Rachel co-founded ‘The Ideation Project’- a four-month incubation program for young Jewish innovators and ‘Tribe: Let My People Know’, a mobile app providing centralised and personalised connections between Jewish communal event hosts and attendees. 

Rachel holds a Bachelor of International Relations, a Masters in Community Development/Emergency Management and a Certificate of Engagement with the International Association of Public Participation. 


Jennifer Weinstock - Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Jennifer Weinstock has been applying her expertise as a development professional for more than 25 years with an emphasis on relationship-building strategies between donors and organizations. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at Combined Jewish Philanthropies where she oversees more than $75M in philanthropic activity every year including a $50M annual campaign, endowment, planned giving and all supplementary giving. Previously Jennifer was the Associate Head of School for External Relations at Gann Academy for six years where she was responsible for all annual, capital and major gifts fundraising as well as strategy and communication with all external constituencies. Before coming to Gann, Jennifer spent six years at the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and more than a decade at WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting station, as the senior Major Gifts officer, Director of Stewardship and Director of the Major Gifts Annual Fund. Jennifer was a member of the pilot class of the Wexner Field Fellowship, a national fellowship for mid-career Jewish professional leaders. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she was very active in Hillel and lives in Brookline, MA, with her husband Amiel and three teenage sons who all attend Jewish day school and Jewish overnight camp.

Elisheva Massel - Director of Strategic Partnerships at JDC

Elisheva Massel is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at JDC, the largest Jewish humanitarian organization, where she feels lucky to enact the value of global Jewish responsibility on a daily basis. While living in Sydney, Eli was active in Hineni, and led multiple international programs, including March of the Living, Taglit Birthright Israel and AUJS Leadership Development Program. Eli moved to the US in 2012 to pursue an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and an MBA in Nonprofit Management at Brandeis University where she quickly learnt that if she was serious about a future in the nonprofit sector then she would need to learn how to fundraise. Today, Eli works on JDC's global fundraising team with New York based donors, and local and national funding organizations across the US. Eli received her BA/BSW with Honors from the University of New South Wales and an MA/MBA from Brandeis University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. Elisheva has worked at the Sydney Jewish Museum, AJC Boston, Birthright Israel Foundation and Hazon, and she currently resides in New York City.


Andrés Spokoiny - President & CEO Jewish Funders Network

Andrés Spokoiny is a long-time Jewish communal leader with a history of leading successful organizational transformations. He served as the CEO of Federation CJA in Montreal and, prior to that, Andrés worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Community (JDC) in Paris. As Regional Director for Northeast Europe, he was responsible for a number of pan-European projects.


While at JDC, Andrés also served as the Director of Leatid Europe, a leadership training institute for Jewish lay and professional leaders, and directed the International Center for Community Development, a partnership of JDC and Oxford University to produce applied research and knowledge management for community development practitioners.


Before his Jewish communal work, Andres worked for IBM and was responsible for training, development, hiring, and recruitment for IBM's Latin America Southern Region during a period of major restructuring. Originally from Argentina, Andres has a multidisciplinary academic background including business, education and rabbinical studies in different institutions around the world. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Yiddish, and is proficient in Russian and German.


Daryn Saretzki - Transaction Strategy & Execution Ernst & Young

Daryn is the lead Partner for EY’s Oceania Transaction Strategy and Execution practice. He leads a 90 person national team who are focused on supporting clients to design, plan for and execute on complex M&A programs of work.


Daryn has been an active participant in the Jewish community – he has previously volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sister program, supported JCA with some of their strategic initiatives and is the Treasurer for Mount Sinai School in Sydney. He also founded the EY Australia-Israel Jewish Business network which has chapters in Sydney and Melbourne.


Gali Cooks - President & CEO, Leading Edge 

Gali is the founding president and chief executive officer of Leading Edge, an organization formed to influence, inspire, and enable dramatic change in attracting, developing, and retaining top talent for Jewish organizations. To Leading Edge, Gali brings extensive professional experience in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors.


Her career began in DC, where she was a speechwriter at the Embassy of Israel and worked as a Legislative Assistant at AIPAC. She was Founding Director of the PJ Library at the Grinspoon Foundation and also served as Executive Director of the Rita J. & Stanley H.Kaplan Family Foundation, overseeing the distribution of millions of philanthropic dollars. Gali is on the board of Keshet, and has served on the boards of Exponent Philanthropy and the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.


Jenn Whittaker - Strategic Leadership and Culture Consultant

Jenn is an international culture and leadership consultant with nearly 20 years of experience guiding organizations through important workforce changes. As a specialist in behavioural risk management, Jenn has deep experience in the design and delivery of change strategies to transform ways of working, and has worked closely with the leadership teams of many of Australia’s largest listed organizations helping to address complex challenges such as:

- Addressing systemic behavioural issues including poor management of risk, poor quality of decisions, misconduct/ mis-selling, poor customer outcomes, fraud/ corruption, bullying/ incivility, etc.

- Improving psychological safety as a driver of speaking up and constrictive challenge.

- Improving the effectiveness of other behavioural risk programs, such as cyber security and industrial safety.

- Designing and delivering the change programs associated with Post Merger Integrations and Divestments.


Jordan Namerow - Writer, Strategist and Facilitator

Jordan Namerow is a feminist writer, strategic communications professional, and facilitator. With more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, she is passionate about helping leaders deepen their impact at the nexus of storytelling and social change. Much of her work centers on helping women, girls, and LGBTQ people elevate their voices and claim their power to make the world more equitable for everyone.


Prior to founding her strategic communications firm, Jordan held a variety of roles in Jewish social justice organizations, including at the Jewish Women’s Archive and American Jewish World Service. A graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University, Jordan lives in Boston with her wife Idit Klein, their son Lior, and their dog Langston.


Rebecca Forgasz - Associate Professor (Practice) of Community Engagement & Intercultural Communication at the ACJC, Monash University


Rebecca has more than twenty years’ professional experience in the Melbourne Jewish community and in the Victorian arts and cultural sector. She was Director & CEO of the Jewish Museum of Australia for almost a decade, during which she led the Museum through a period of significant organisational development and creative revitalisation. In 2019, she co-founded the Jewish Climate Network, which aims to raise awareness and inspire action on climate change in the Australian Jewish community.


Rebecca's current role is as Associate Professor (Practice) of Community Engagement & Intercultural Communication at the Australian Centre of Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, where she is responsible for developing strategic initiatives and partnerships with industry and the community. She strongly believes in collaboration and partnership as a pathway to greater impact.




Simone Szalmuk-Singer - Co-Chair, AJF

Simone is Co-Chair of the Australian Jewish Funders.  Simone is motivated by a strong sense of service to Jewish community and holds a number of leadership positions. She is Co-Vice President of Jewish Care Victoria and a Director of the Erdi Foundation. She is Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Jewish Women of Words, an online publication for Jewish women writers. Simone was formerly President of JNF Victoria and Australian National Vice President. For many years, Simone worked as a lawyer specialising in employment law.


As Simone is passionate about developing Jewish communal leadership, she is a mentor in several leadership programs, a Senior Fellow in the Schusterman Fellowship program and a member the of the Schusterman Foundation Senior Fellows Advisory Committee. Simone has completed high level leadership training programs on areas such as adaptive design and women’s leadership.  She has attended the Harvard Business School where she studied Governance for Nonprofit Excellence and Performance Measurement for Effective Nonprofit Organisations. Simone recently participated in a Harvard Business School Nonprofit Crisis Management workshop with non-profit leaders from around the globe.

Belinda Bardas - Co-Chair, AJF

Belinda is Head of Philanthropy and Trustee at Victor Smorgon Charitable Fund (VSCF). The VCSF provides strategic investment to a range of, for purpose organizations, in the Australian Jewish Community, broader Australian society and Israel. Supporting a broad range of areas, including education, the arts, institutional development, and medical research. Belinda is Co-chair of the Australian Jewish Funders (AJF). She is Non-Executive Director at Victor Smorgon Group, a family office that has a strong focus on retail, property, agri-business, equities, and philanthropy.  As a mentor in residence at Launchpad Retreats since 2015, Belinda has built deep and long-lasting relationships with committed Jewish communal leaders, change-makers, and activists. Launchpad, a platform for Jewish community Innovation in Australia unites incredible change-makers, giving them skills, networks, and opportunities to connect, think, create and lead together. It is there where the magic happens and 14 innovative programs stimulating Jewish life have been seeded.
Belinda graduated from Swinburne University with a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact (2018), a course for established and emerging leaders of social change. The course is a ‘pracademic’ program with a uniquely comprehensive curriculum based on systems thinking and social design principles. Before her Career in Philanthropy, Belinda worked for numerous years as a Naturopath, health coach and wellbeing facilitator, is a member of the Australian Natural Therapies association and an NLP practitioner. Beyond this Belinda worked as a Fashion Retail Professional, at an iconic Australian brand, specializing in women’s fashion. Honing her business acumen, in business development, entrepreneurial vision, brand strategy, marketing and communication skills, the ability to recognize future trends, and the capacity to make decisions under pressure.

Gary Samowitz - Community Consultant

Gary is currently the Engagement Director at Hakoah. Prior to this he was appointed as Stand Up’s first CEO in 2009 and played a key role in overseeing the explosive growth of its programs and volunteer community. Stand Up is all about the Australian Jewish community pursuing social justice for all.


Gary was previously the Hillel Director (at Shalom) in Sydney where he mentored and trained Jewish university students, and was lucky to lead 12 Israel programs. Gary studied Jewish History and International Relations. He sits on a number of Jewish community boards including AUJS, FOJAM and JCN. He enjoys doing triathlons and spending time with his gorgeous twin girls and son.


Tracie Olcha - CEO, AJF

Tracie Olcha is CEO at the Australian Jewish Funders (AJF), the network of Jewish donors inspiring effective philanthropy and strengthening community.  Tracie works closely with the AJF network, philanthropic foundations and a multitude of organisations throughout Australia, the US, Israel and Asia to spearhead initiatives that raise awareness and address the big issues facing the Jewish community, with a major focus on philanthropy, innovation in Jewish life and Jewish community building across the generations. She is all about empowering community members to create meaningful and relevant Jewish experiences for themselves and their peers and is the visionary behind LaunchPad.


Tracie sits on the International Council at Moishe House, an organisation inspiring Jewish homes for young adults in their 20’s. There are currently over 100 communities across 25 countries creating meaningful, welcoming Jewish communities for themselves and their peers. She is a Scholar with Our Common Destiny, a ground-breaking new initiative to strengthen global Jewry by linking Jewish communities all over the world to a shared set of ethics and values across religious and cultural identities. Our Common Destiny is a joint initiative of Genesis Philanthropy Group and the State of Israel, under the auspices of the President of Israel. Tracie also co-founded Mamilla, a six-month program that aims to unlock and activate the power of Jewish entrepreneurs and connects them with the start up eco-system in Israel.

Brandon Srot - Chief Facilitation Officer, LaunchPad

Brandon Srot dedicates his professional life to the development of human potential and connection. Leveraging over 15 years of senior leadership experience in the Jewish non-profit sector, his Sydney-based consultancy offers a suite of services in psychotherapy, leadership development and facilitation for clients and organisations across the globe. Brandon is passionate about working with individuals, couples, groups, teams and networks who are committed to the process of transformation and renewal.


He is a Senior Schusterman Fellow, a Nachum Goldmann Fellow and the recipient of Bnai Brith’s Jewish Changemaker Award. Brandon holds qualifications in counselling and human change and Gestalt therapy and has trained in embodied leadership, adaptive leadership and facilitation in the US, Israel and Australia. He is on faculty at the Masa Leadership Center (Israel), The School of Life (Australia), is the Chief Facilitation Officer of LaunchPad Australia and is a certified practitioner of The Leadership Circle ®. Brandon is also a board member of Mandelbaum House and is a proud member of the Australian Adaptive Leadership Institute community. 

Natalie Herscu - Director of Social Impact, LaunchPad

Natalie is passionate about empowering others to find their potential so that they can have a positive impact on the world around them. As LaunchPad’s Innovation Manager, Natalie is dedicated to curating spaces and experiences that support her community to truly thrive.


Natalie's role at LaunchPad involves weaving the LaunchPad network, building relationships and driving engagement. She is proud to have established LaunchPad Co-Labs, which brings together AJF members, the donors together with social activists, the LaunchPad network and communal partners, the Jewish not-for-profit organisations to collaborate for greater impact. Natalie lives by her core values; connection, gratitude, and contribution bringing purpose and authenticity to her endeavours. She brings laughter, banter and good vibes, encouraging those around her to not take life too seriously.

Rebecca is an enthusiastic and conscientious person, who is always open to new ideas and opportunities. Upon finishing school, Rebecca entered into a Bachelor of Business degree at Monash University, which was successfully completed in 2019. Aside from providing a solid foundation of knowledge and skills within the business sector, Rebecca also found a passion for innovation and leadership. Throughout university, Rebecca volunteered at Flying Fox, an organisation that provides positive social opportunities to children and young adults with disabilities, through overnight camps.


Rebecca is passionate about inclusion and enriching the disability sector, wanting to not only change the lives of individuals with special needs, but to also shift society’s perspective on disability. Since joining the Australian Jewish Funders in 2019, as the LaunchPad Retreat Coordinator, her understanding of Jewish philanthropy has broadened, and she has been introduced to new ideas and an amazing network of motivated people. Rebecca is always excited to see the incredible things happening in the not-for-profit space and can’t wait to begin the LaunchPad Leadership journey.

Rebecca Adler - Program Coordinator, LaunchPad


Justine Saidman - Director of PJ Library in Australia and New Zealand at Shalom

Justine Saidman is a passionate and dedicated Jewish educator and community engagement professional. Her love of books, reading and knowledge directly influences her work as Director of PJ Library in Australia and New Zealand where she works to help young families engage with Jewish community in a meaningful way.


Justine is committed to helping people transform their lives through Jewish knowledge packaged in a way that makes sense to them. She has a Certificate of Jewish Leadership from Spertus in Chicago and a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. She values big ideas, conversation and opportunities for growth and transformation. She is constantly looking for ways to expand her own Jewish horizons and influence the people around her to similarly expand theirs.


Phil Lewis - Chairman, Five Squared Property Group

Phil has been at the forefront of Melbourne property development for over 40 years. An experienced, award-winning builder and property developer, Phil is a long time director of the Chain Group, one of Melbourne’s pre-eminent privately-owned property groups. In 2009, he established the Five Squared Property Group with two of his sons, Ashley and Brett.


With involvement in a long string of iconic and highly successful projects, Phil prides himself on being heavily involved in the entire design and construction process – from original concept plans right through to completion. Phil has a wealth of experience overseeing a multitude of property projects, including low, medium and high density construction on large-scale residential sites, residential land subdivisions, neighbourhood shopping centres, childcare facilities, aged care facilities, retirement villages and multi-lot industrial facilities.


Phil is a committed communal activist, currently holding a number of leadership roles. He is a Board member of the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC), Co-Chair of their Capital Campaign and member of the PCG (Project Control Group), overseeing the building of their new facility. Phil also sits on the JHC Risk and Financial Committee, the AJF Resource and Development Committee and was President of the AJAX Junior Football Club. Phil also mentors a number of communal leaders offering guidance and support to maximise their impact.


Phil is married to Sue, a father of 5 and proud grandfather.

Justin Greenstein - Head of Risk and Operations, ANZi (ANZ Innovation)

Justin works in Financial Services, with a deep focus on risk management in the Digital and innovation space. More recently, Justin has co-founded a RegTech (Regulatory Technology) start-up which provides organisations with a digital tool to measure and monitor risk culture. Justin is very passionate about Jewish life and Jewish tradition and is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the future generation of Jews in Australia through the AJF. Justin lives in Melbourne and is married with two children (a three year old daughter and a one year old son). Justin loves travelling and being exposed to different cultures around the world. Justin joined AJF in 2019 as a Board Observer and is now a Director.

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