Rooting Consulting Work in Jewish Values

A Pro Bono Partnership with Fair Trade Judaica

Ilana Schatz is the founding director of Fair Trade Judaica, an organization that, she explained, is “trying to create a fair trade movement in the Jewish community” by “linking fair trade principles with Jewish values.” Fair Trade Judaica, Ilana noted, “informs a Jewish way of making consumer choices” by doing “outreach and education nationally, working with fair trade artisan groups around the world, making new Judaica products, getting products to Jewish consumers by going to fairs and getting them into synagogues.” Ilana emphasized that “part of what fair trade is about is that the artisans are paid well and they’re respected and they have a lot of pride in the quality of their work.”

Ilana Schatz

Ilana has reached out to the Pro Bono Consulting Practice at the Federation on several occasions, remarking that it has “been of immense value” to Fair Trade Judaica. She went on to say that the value lies “not only in bringing us people who have expertise in particular areas, like marketing or business development or board relations, but also people who are connected to the Jewish community and understand how our work is based in Jewish values and have an understanding of how the Jewish community works. So that’s a very special connection to have while working with somebody.”

Recently, Fair Trade Judaica realized that its “board was at an exciting phase.” Ilana reflected that they had “integrated three new board members in the last several months” and “wanted to do their first board retreat, both to create cohesion and integrate new members, and to reinvigorate the board around their mission and around their roles and responsibilities, and to create a deeper sense of shared leadership between staff and board.”

So, Ilana approached the Pro Bono Consulting Practice and was connected to Rosalind Franklin of the Rosalind Franklin Group, a coach who does both life and executive consulting. Rosalind deeply appreciates the importance of a strong board, both for the organization and the community, and roots herself and her work in Jewish values.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind reflected that, “I’ve always been involved in the Jewish community in many ways, and done volunteer work ever since I can remember. I particularly have a passion for this work, and I believe that having a good board and effective leadership has a huge, huge impact on the community and on the organization, and that it’s not something that people regularly get trained for or have knowledge about. It’s an area that doesn’t get as much attention as it needs. I feel very strongly that if you are a good board member and a good executive director, and have a great partnership, then you can accomplish great things.”

Rosalind pointed out that, “People join boards for all sorts of reasons. I like to think it’s an absolutely symbiotic relationship: each person is going to get something from the relationship, and then it becomes a meaningful and worthwhile endeavor. A good board is a board that knows what their roles and responsibilities are, how they can support the organization by helping to set goals, and making sure that those goals are aligned with the mission. I like to look at boards not just as an aggregate, not just as a whole entity, but also how people are performing on their individual service, and if it is an enjoyable experience.”

Rosalind recognized that Fair Trade Judaica was at a particular juncture, and worked closely with Ilana and Andy Greenberg, the board chair, to create a meaningful retreat experience for the board. Ilana commented enthusiastically that, “It was fabulous to work with Rosalind. We had several planning meetings with her, and we identified where we were with the board and what we wanted to accomplish. We put together an agenda for the meeting and then Rosalind facilitated an all day retreat, and the results were so much more than what we could have expected.”

Ilana went on to say that, “Since then – it’s been less than a month – we have already launched three new committees. So the board has become much more energized and reengaged with our mission, with a deeper sense of shared leadership for moving Fair Trade Judaica forward and what it means to make it a sustainable organization. It was an absolutely fabulous experience, and there is no way we could have done this without Rosalind’s help. It really required a skilled facilitator and someone who knows how boards and staff are supposed to work and relate to each other.”

In reflecting on her work with Fair Trade Judaica and the Pro Bono Consulting Practice, Rosalind highlighted her enjoyment in helping an organization “that’s really at the beginning stages “get to “the next level.” She went on to emphasize her conviction that “organizations don’t just need money, they need robust support and they need human resources. So having the Pro Bono Consulting Practice available to the community is very valuable and a wonderful gift to the community.”


August 02, 2016


Noa Silver