Leadership Transitions

 
Dear Boston Workers Circle Community,
 
We are writing today to announce that after six+ years of stellar leadership, Jen Kiok, our Executive Director, has decided to move on to a new chapter in her life. Jen has been a visionary and inspirational leader for our community. 
 
Her leadership has created greater cohesion and collaboration in our programming. It has given us a shared sense of the connection between Jewish culture, tradition, and justice. Under Jen’s guidance, BWC has accomplished so much:
 
  • Built trusting partnership between generations, leading to intergenerational leadership across the organization.
  • Sold the old building, creating a socially responsible investment, and shepherded the move to our new accessible space in Coolidge Corner.
  • Grew our membership from 350 to over 600 people.
  • Grew our capacity from 1 full-time staff and 3 part-time, to 5 full-time staff and 1 part-time.
  • Spotlighted and prioritized the intersection of antisemitism and racial justice work.
  • Centered equity and inclusion in all our work.
  • Developed a 3-year strategic plan to guide our work. 
  • Created an inclusive community process for changing our name.
 
BWC is strong and growing. Our board has formed a transition team and plan to support and sustain our membership and staff during this leadership transition. Jen will continue in her role half-time until August and then an Interim ED will take over while we conduct a thorough search to hire a new Executive Director. A leadership team will be on board throughout the summer and fall to support specific projects and staff. And, of course, we have one another — as a member-led organization, we are in this work collaboratively and will continue to support each other. There will be opportunities for all of us to celebrate Jen and her accomplishments together this fall.
 
Anne Greenwald, Jen Kiok, and Libby Shrobe (left to right) posing in celebration with our freshly painted sign on our new building. Photo Credit: Rose Kiok-Kirshenbaum.
 

We cannot emphasize enough what an honor it is to serve such a vibrant, caring, and creative community, deeply rooted in Jewish culture and justice. While change is challenging, we know that our resilient and connected community will continue to flourish as we navigate this transition together. Each one of you contributes to the fabric of this community, and it is because of you that Boston Workers Circle thrives.

 

With great love and respect,

 

Anne Greenwald
Board President
 
Libby Shrobe
Board Vice President

 

 
Dear friend,
 
I knew as soon as I arrived at BWC that this community was unique. I’ve spent much of my adult life working in member-led grassroots organizations, and I could see right away that the depth of commitment and member-leadership here was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. You all tend to this community with so much care, intention, and thoughtfulness. It has been a deep honor and privilege to spend my days working with you, listening for the connections between the many strands of our collective work and looking for ways to weave them together to form a stronger whole.
 
I quickly understood that my role was to build a bridge between generations, those seen and unseen. I’m proud of the ways that we have built authentic community, trust, and leadership across generations. I envision us together as that wider bridge from our collective past to our future, from our ancestors to the next generations. To me, the work that we do together, weaving Jewish culture and social justice, is our shared contribution to collective liberation. I know the work will only continue to grow stronger in this next chapter as we continue to deepen our understanding of our role in dismantling antisemitism, racism, and white supremacy.
 
As I enter my 7th year in this role, I am called to the Jewish tradition of Shmita, or rest. Traditionally Jews would plant the fields for 6 years and in the 7th year let them go fallow. As a sandwich-generation mother and daughter, I have been holding many things, along with this community, through this pandemic. I am grateful to have an opportunity to rest and replenish before returning in new ways to the work of building intergenerational community, of healing, and of justice at the intersections of antisemitism, racism, and white supremacy. I will continue to be a part of this community as a Shule parent, and I am eager to see how our work evolves in this next chapter.
 
In addition to working with you, our members, I’ve treasured the opportunity to work with the amazing, evolving community of staff who have helped to anchor and support this organization over the past 6+ years and through the pandemic. I am blown away by the level of thoughtfulness, brilliance, and care each of our staff brings to their work. I’m delighted to share that we have promoted Madeleine Jackman to the role of Director of Communications and Community Engagement and expanded Meira Soloff’s role as Education Director to Full Time (more details about these changes are below). It’s hard to step away from an organization I care so deeply about, and it’s much easier because I know BWC is in such good hands!
 
With love and solidarity,
 
Jen Kiok
Executive Director
 
 
 

Madeleine Jackman, Director of Communications & Community Engagement

 
Eighteen months ago when we hired Madeleine Jackman as our Communications Manager, we had no idea that her role would grow to include transitioning our entire organization to a virtual platform. In addition to making our work beautiful and accessible to our intergenerational community, she has provided training and support to ensure all our members' needs are met in this new and changing world. We are thrilled to expand her role to more explicitly name the leadership role that she has already stepped into.
 
 
Meira Soloff, Education Director
 
Meira came on board two years ago into a newly expanded role, running our flagship Shule program while providing support to our adult education programs. When the pandemic hit, six months into her first program year, Meira did not skip a beat. With a deep commitment to keeping our education programs engaging and accessible across different learning styles, she migrated nine Shule classes to virtual platforms in a period of weeks. She provided additional training and support for our teachers and has continued to adapt with creative solutions over the past 13 months to the changing needs of this new environment. Additionally, she has worked with our member-led adult education committee to offer meaningful and engaging virtual adult ed programs. We are grateful to be able to grow Meira’s role into a full-time position.Su