Leadership Retreat

Learn. Connect. Do.


Meet our Scholar in Residence: Yavilah McCoy

Yavilah McCoy, is the CEO of the Diversity consulting group DIMENSIONS Inc. Over twenty years, McCoy has worked with a broad base of leaders and organizations to provide transformational resources for diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. McCoy is a pioneer of the Jewish diversity and equity movement and has been an activist and mentor for the empowerment of Jews of Color for most of her life. She brings a wealth of wisdom and experience in DEI consulting, non-profit management, philanthropy and engagement to her work and has partnered with numerous agencies to build strong, healthy organizations with measurable commitments to racial justice, equity and anti-oppression in practice.

McCoy was voted one of “16 Faith Leaders to Watch” by the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. She is a certified coach for the Auburn Theological Seminary’s Pastoral Coach Training Program and a fellow for their Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle.  McCoy is a certified trainer for the” A World of Difference Institute,” the National Coalition Building Institute, and the National Center for Community and Justice.

As a career Jewish professional, McCoy directed the launch of the “Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project” for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Ruderman Family Foundation. McCoy was also the Boston Director for Bronfman Philanthropy’s Curriculum Initiative (TCI), a non-profit educational consultancy that serviced 600 prep schools across the nation with resources for Jewish identity and culture. McCoy was one of the inaugural recipients of the Joshua Venture Fellowship, and the founding director of Ayecha, one of the first nonprofit Jewish organizations to provide education and advocacy for Jews of Color in the United States. McCoy is a renowned national speaker, educator, and diversity practitioner and in celebration of the musical traditions passed down to her from three generations of her African-American Jewish family, is also the writer, producer and performer for the Jewish Gospel theatrical production “The Colors of Water.”


Opening Plenary Keynote Speaker


“Empowering women into leadership is one of the great challenges of our time, cutting across race, class, and geography.  It is not only an opportunity—it is a global imperative.” – Adrienne Davis


Adrienne Davis is the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law and Vice Provost at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Davis is renowned for her scholarship and teaching on gender and race relations, theories of justice and reparations, feminist legal theory, and law and popular culture.

Davis has written extensively on the gendered and private law dimensions of American slavery and is the co-editor of the book, Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America. A Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, Professor Davis directs the Black Sexual Economies Project at the Washington University in St. Louis Law School’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital. She also founded and runs the Law & Culture Initiative. Professor Davis is the past recipient of a Bellagio Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and two research grants from the Ford Foundation on such topics as black women and labor, and women, slavery, sexuality, and religion. In addition to her research and teaching, and she is past chair of the Law and Humanities Section of the Association of American Law Schools.

Outside of work, Davis is passionate about the arts and St. Louis and embraces opportunities to combine her two loves. Davis earned her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University where she served on the Executive Committee of the Yale Law Journal.

Saturday Night Dinner Program

Mother 2 Mother, A conversation with black mothers to white about “the talk” with their black sons exposes communities of women to the dangers and reality of raising Black sons in America regardless of the socio-economic status achieved. It provides an outlet for other Black mothers to share in their struggle. Together, the conversations are intended to spur women to use their considerable power and energy to create broad change within their homes, schools, and communities.

Mother 2 Mother began in September 2014, by Dr. Christi Griffin, founder and president of The Ethics Project, as a means of creating understanding, healing and solutions to racism and over policing in the African American community. The conversations were launched to a full house at the Missouri History Museum in partnership with the Racial Justice Program of the YWCA and the Missouri History Museum.  The idea was prompted by a forum at Christ the King Church following the killing of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. Christ the King’s pastor, Rev. Traci Blackmon, herself a mother of Black sons, shared her experience at the launch of the conversations. Gestating only as an idea, it became reality when radio host Carol Daniel contacted Griffin for an interview and encouraged action.


Cino Adelson has been a part of NCJW’s Minnesota section since 2010, serving on the leadership and organizational development committee. Her firm Cinovations provides executive coaching and conflict mediation, and facilitates leadership transition, partnerships, strategic planning, leadership team building, and organization culture transformation. She has been a board leader and has volunteered for many nonprofit and educational institutions.

Ellen Alper is executive director of NCJW’s St. Louis section. She oversees the NCJW St. Louis office and has managed the operations of its Resale Shop for the past 13+ years, doubling its net profits during that time. She has more than 35 years of experience in non-profit management and advocacy work that includes a variety of upper level organizational positions, beginning as a staff assistant in the Carter White House. A community volunteer, Alper was a CORO Fellow in Public Affairs.

Melissa Alper sits on the board of NCJW-St. Louis and serves as the MO-SPA. She was introduced to the mission and meaning of NCJW in high school and, inspired by our work, chose to study policy and advocacy. She earned a BA in public policy followed by a Master’s in Social Work, specializing in policy, philanthropy, and management to understand the intersection and influence of individuals, communities, and policymakers. Alper works for a nonprofit AIDS-service organization in St. Louis.

Amy Bloom is the director of outreach and engagement for NCJW’s Greater Miami Section. She works closely with the section’s seven presidium members to plan the inaugural “Listen & Engage” leadership development program, and the May 9th Mother’s Day Luncheon “Celebrating the Immigrant.” She looks forward to the section’s strategic planning process and the next steps the section will take to engage leaders in Miami’s Jewish community.

Vancy Boyar is co-chair of NCJW’s Section Advisory Committee, the immediate past co-president of the NCJW Greater Rochester section, and co-chair of the local section nominating committee. She began her association with NCJW in 1993 and served as her section’s treasurer for several years. She has been involved in a wide range of committee projects in the Rochester community through NCJW. Boyar is also a retired CPA and financial planner.

Dina B. Charnin is the director of Israel Policy and Programs for NCJW. She spearheads NCJW’s efforts to educate and engage its members and leaders in support of Israel as the Jewish homeland and democratic state for all its people. She works in support of gender equality, religious pluralism, a robust civil society, and women’s peace efforts.

Ari Conrad is the grassroots associate based in NCJW’s Washington office and helps provide advocacy and organizing training and support to NCJW sections, members, and the SPA network. Conrad also leads NCJW’s monthly advocacy webinar program, Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof: Tools for Transformation.

Lisa Crawford resides in Hartford, CT, and is a member of NCJW’s national board, where she serves on the executive committee and as board liaison to the Section Advisory Committee. As past president of the Columbus (OH) section, she is most proud of their young generation of leaders and of their community engagement, strong social media presence, and ongoing advocacy work.

Anne Eisenberg is president of NCJW’s Sacramento section. She became involved with NCJW through the section’s Family Shalom program after retirement, when she also worked for an after-school program for low income students. After starting her career as a high school history/government teacher in Los Angeles, she became the editor of the Jewish community paper in Sacramento and was associate director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region from 1980 to 1996.

Sarah D. Feinberg is NCJW’s senior director of planning and administration. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the organization and the move from New York to the new office in DC. With more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience, she has experience in strategic planning and implementation, operations management, workforce culture and budget management. Sarah joined NCJW in January 2018.

Lynne Garfinkel is a consultant focused on capacity building for non-profit and start up organizations. She has extensive experience in various roles with many local and national nonprofit organizations. Garfinkel served as NCJW Pittsburgh section president from 2006-2008 and is currently vice president of advocacy for NCJW’s Columbus section. She has received numerous national and local awards for her contributions, including the National NCJW Outstanding Pioneer Award in 2005.

Lauren Riese Garfunkel is a member of NCJW’s board of directors, where she serves as vice chair of NCJW’s Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Initiative. In her NCJW work she focuses on identifying and engaging new young NCJW members and on making abortion legal and accessible for ALL women, respectively. Garfunkel is a facilitator of New Mom groups in New York City, where she lives with her husband and son.

Paula Garret is assistant treasurer of NCJW and immediate past president of NCJW’s Pittsburgh Section. She serves on the board of the Jewish Association on Aging of Pittsburgh and is co-chair of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Pittsburgh. Garret’s “day job” is CEO of Forum Lighting, a privately held business that manufactures specification-grade lighting fixtures for offices, corporate headquarters, airports, and transportation hubs.

Robin Graham is the manager of section services and membership data in the member and field services department, where she is responsible for all aspects of membership. More recently, she has taken on a larger role with the implementation of the national partnership dues and new membership model. She has held many positions in her 20 years at NCJW.

Suzi Greenman is executive director of NCJW, Greater Dallas section.   A volunteer with NCJW since her pre-teen years in Councilettes, Suzi came to her current position with knowledge of NCJW’s programs and a strong commitment to its mission.  Prior to becoming executive director, she served as the director of development at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Amy Kuo Hammerman serves on the board of directors of NCJW’s St. Louis (MO) section and is co-chair of its Advocacy in Action program. She also serves on the Justice at the Center committee at Shaare Emeth Congregation and on the PTO and gala committees at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community Day School. An attorney now on extended hiatus, she practiced family law in the St. Louis metro area.

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh has served as a chaplain and educator in St. Louis, MO and in Australia for more than 25 years. She is currently the senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Creve Coeur, MO. Rabbi Hersh has focused much of her career on serving the needs of interfaith families, developing and facilitating women’s programming, and building a temple community that embraces all faiths, backgrounds and orientations.

Debbie Hoffmann is co-chair of NCJW Leadership Retreat 2018. She is also NCJW’s immediate past president and has served as NCJW’s treasurer, chaired its finance committee, and co-chaired the NCJW Israel Granting Committee. Currently she is chair of NCJW’s nominating committee and 125th anniversary celebration committee. Hoffmann is past chair of NCJW’s Cleveland (OH) section and is deeply involved in leadership roles with many nonprofits in the Cleveland community.

Brigid Howe is NCJW’s director of member and field services. She brings over 15 years of nonprofit membership and program experience to the organization. Howe joined NCJW in April 2018, and leads the member and field Services team in developing the upcoming membership campaign and supporting sections.

Dr. Lynne Hvidsten is NCJW’s Co-State Policy Advocacy Chair for Minnesota. She applies her healthcare and higher education leadership experience to her NCJW advocacy work. Dr. Hvidsten received the Biofreeze Humanitarian of the Year award in 2011 and the Jewish Community Action Community Organizer of the Year award in 2013. Married to Cindy Amberger, their two grandchildren keep them motivated to help the world be a better place.

Beatrice Kahn is president of NCJW. A lifelong resident of New York City, she is a lawyer by training and a prolific volunteer activist. Kahn moved to the board’s leading role after serving as board vice president for three years and as co-president of NCJW’s NY Section for five years, during which time she was instrumental in effecting a major restructuring of the section. She was also co-chair of Washington Institute 2016 and of Leaders Retreat 2012. Kahn was the chair of NCJW’s Trafficking Work Group from 2013-2014 and helped to develop and launch Exodus: NCJW’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiative. She has been deeply engaged in improving the organization’s financial systems and increasing membership engagement, as well as advocating for issues the organization pioneers. She has also contributed extensively to training members on board building, fundraising, membership, advocacy, and creating a vision and plan for the future.

Susan Katzman is president of the St. Louis (MO) section. She has served as treasurer, vice presidents for retail, membership, and development and was the first VP for leadership development. A life member, she became active with the St. Louis section in 1998 chairing a committee determining the fate of NCJW’s Resale Shop, which provides a large part of the section’s income.

Nancy K. Kaufman has been NCJW’s chief executive officer since 2011, overseeing the fundraising, planning, domestic policy, international policy, and governance work of the organization. She has had a distinguished career as a public servant, advocate, and nonprofit leader. Prior to joining NCJW, Kaufman served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston for 20 years, where she led the social justice, Israel advocacy, and governmental affairs agendas for Boston’s Jewish Federation and its agencies. She has also held a variety of positions related to health and human services delivery in state and local government and in the nonprofit sector, including as founding executive director of a community action agency and as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services. She was also deputy commissioner of the Welfare Department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has been named to the list of the Forward 50 four times.

Amanda Lang is NCJW’s director of marketing and communications. A reformed lawyer, Lang has been practicing in the communications and public relations field for more than a decade. She joined NCJW in late December 2016, and spearheads efforts to gain greater visibility for NCJW and its advocacy work.

Lynn Lederman has been actively involved in NCJW Minnesota for the last five years. Initially, and now as a member of the fund development committee, she is starting her second term on the board. Lederman comes to NCJW with both legal and fundraising professional experience in a variety of settings. She has developed expertise in planned giving and annual campaigns, and works to help strengthen people’s connections to organizations they choose to support.

Robin Leeds serves on NCJW’s board and co-chairs the communications committee. While working at the Clinton White House Office on Women’s Initiatives and Outreach, Leeds coordinated domestic public policy and constituency engagement efforts and led numerous domestic and international women’s initiatives. She also served on the Hillary for President Women’s Policy Team. She is the founder and managing director of Winning Strategies LLC, a public affairs and political consulting firm based in Washington, DC.

Jill Lexier is NCJW’s Illinois SPA. She became involved in NCJW upon moving to Naperville in 2004, serving as treasurer and then president of the Tri-County (IL) section. In 2016 she joined the board of Chicago North Shore (IL) section and helped energize section advocacy efforts. An engineer by training, Lexier spent 30 years in the energy industry leading interdisciplinary teams on renewable fuels and other environmental projects.

Claire Lipschultz serves on the executive committee of NCJW’s board of directors. She co-chairs NCJW’s Advocacy Network and is also co-chair of the California Policy Advocacy Network as State Policy Advocate. A board member of NCJW’s Sacramento (CA) section, Lipschultz was instrumental in the passage and implementation of key state anti-trafficking laws for which she received NCJW’s 2013 Outstanding Advocate Award and the California Women Lawyers Women of Achievement Award in 2013.

Lynne Jacobs was a fundraising professional before retirement. She joined the NCJW board in March 2017 and sits on both the development and Israel committees. She has served on the boards of the New York section (chairing its Jewish Women’s Resource Center project) and of the Greater Philadelphia section, where she is still an at-large member.  A participant in the 2013 and 2015 NCJW Israel study tours, Jacobs has been the policy advocacy chair for Pennsylvania since 2014.

Julie Matlof Kennedy is a member of NCJW’s board of directors, where she serves on the executive, development, and governance committees. Since 2004, Kennedy has been teaching at Stanford Law School, as well as law firms, corporations, and nonprofit institutions. Her work focuses on negotiation, leadership, communications, and advocacy. Before becoming a teacher, she was a partner at a boutique litigation firm in San Francisco.

Marci Mayer Eisen leads a community-wide leadership initiative of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, working with both professionals and volunteer leaders. She previously worked at the JCRC and for many years at the Jewish Community Center. Eisen teaches group dynamics and committee/board engagement both locally and nationally.

Ruth L. Lederman has been in the nonprofit and fundraising field for more than 25 years. Currently the vice president of resource development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, she oversees fundraising for a $7 million budget (up from $3.8 million in 2014). She is now engaged in raising $25 million for after-school and summer youth programs. Lederman was previously responsible for a record-setting campaign for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis that exceeded its $70 million goal.

Sharon Lipton is an NCJW vice president and co-chair of NCJW’s Advocacy Network. A member of the executive, finance, and Israel committees, she is a former State Policy Advocate for Michigan as well as a past NCJW commissioner, and past chair of Leaders Retreat. She has held several other leadership positions at NCJW and elsewhere. She is now president of the Michigan Jewish Conference and serves on several other boards of philanthropic and cultural organizations.

Sandi Matz has been president of the Michigan section since 2016. She previously focused on fundraising and programming. Her very first experience with NCJW was chair of the annual fall fundraiser Women of Vision. She led its patron campaign and initiated a games day event. As programming chair for many years, Sandi began a three-part lecture series titled “Nosh and Knowledge.”

Lindsay Morris is NCJW’s associate director of Washington operations, overseeing the SPA network as well as NCJW grassroots advocacy and organizing strategies on NCJW’s key issues, including women’s health and judicial nominations. She provides training, technical assistance, and coaching to NCJW advocacy leaders and advocates.

Liron Peleg Hadomi is NCJW’s representative in Israel, where she works to empower women, advance gender equality, and support the strengthening of civil liberties, democracy, and peace efforts. Over the last 18 years, she has worked with a variety of civil society organizations committed to strengthening relations among communities in Israel through leadership development, learning exchange programs, and the creation of networks for social change. Peleg Hadomi is part of the Global Leadership Network of vital voices.

Jody Rabhan is NCJW’s director of Washington Operations, leading the organization’s advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital and playing a key role in mobilizing effective grassroots work on priority issues and campaigns around the country. Rabhan has represented NCJW on national coalitions concerned with civil rights, economic justice issues, intimate partner violence, gun violence, and human trafficking, among other issues. She is a speaker and trainer on public policy and legislative issues for groups throughout the country, including Jewish communal organizations and other advocacy groups in the broader community.

Michal Regunberg is an award-winning communications professional experienced in public relations, government and community relations, journalism, and academia. She serves as a Board Director for NCJW and co-chairs the communications committee, where she works with NCJW’s communications team in support of the organization’s marketing. The recipient of a Sigma Delta Chi Award and a regional Emmy, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Publicity Club of New England, she also serves on the National Institute of Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ).

Susan Reis joined NCJW/Cleveland in 2008 to work on gun violence reduction. In 2011 she won the Advocacy in Action award for her work and served as vice president of advocacy from 2010-2014. She became Ohio’s State Policy Advocate (SPA) in 2014 and worked to get the Cleveland and Columbus sections working together. She is a huge believer in grassroots organizing to accomplish change.

Marilyn Colby Rivkin is co-chair of Leadership Retreat, a vice president of the NCJW Board, and past president of the NCJW Minneapolis (now Minnesota) section. She serves on the NCJW MN leadership and organizational development committee, focusing on leadership training and program evaluation. In her professional life, Colby Rivkin consults with youth-focused public agencies and nonprofit organizations to help them develop, evaluate, and implement effective programs that improve the health and well-being of the young people they serve.

Stephanie Rodgers is a first term NCJW board member from the Chicago Northshore section. Before joining the board she sat on the Israel committee and is now its vice chair. Rodgers is also active in her congregation and her children’s schools.

Joyce Rosenfield, immediate past president of NCJW’s Greater Dallas section, served on the section’s board and was co-community service vice president before becoming section president. She now co-chairs NCJW’s Section Advisory Council (SAC) with Vancy Boyer. Rosenfield began her association with NCJW in 1973 serving in several roles, including section president, before a 34-year break as a full-time gerontologist. After retirement, she returned to serve again in active leadership.

Freya Sachs first connected to NCJW’s Nashville section as a child helping her mother on volunteer assignments. She is now finishing her three-year term as co-president of the section, after previously serving as secretary and helping with the section’s reorganization. In the last three years, the Nashville section has partnered with professional staff, increased engagement among both new and prospective members, and worked to keep NCJW an engaging organization in today’s world.

Rosean Schmidt is a member of the NCJW board where she serves on the Israel Committee. She is active in the Cleveland section, having served as chairperson of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration programs. Additionally, this fall Schmidt is chairing the 2018 Lois Zaas Memorial Advocacy program. She is a retired primary schoolteacher.

Cathy Silverman has been the executive director of NCJW’s Essex (NJ) section for 17 years and an NCJW member for 37 years. She has also served as a division president and an Essex County section vice president. Silverman previously coordinated the Israel and Overseas program of the Greater MetroWest Federation.

Linda Slucker is NCJW’s immediate past president and served on its board from 1999-2017. She is currently chair of the development committee, co-chair of NCJW’s 125th Anniversary Campaign, and continues to serve on the finance committee. Slucker has held numerous other NCJW leadership positions both nationally and in the Essex County (NJ) section. She also co-founded the Rachel Coalition: a response to domestic violence in the Jewish community in MetroWest, NJ.

Carly Sparks is a psychotherapist in private practice and active volunteer with NCJW. A part-time adjunct faculty member at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, Sparks has extensive experience in the field of social work. She has been continually involved in cultural competency, multi-dimensional client advocacy, addiction, and rape and domestic violence counseling. She works directly with clients and does organizational consulting, staff training, and seminars and also volunteers at The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Louis, Jewish Family and Children Services.

Susan Spiers serves on the NCJW board, where she serves on the governance, Israel, and audit committees and chairs the membership committee. Since 2009, she has been working at the intersection of technology and real estate, launching products for firms such as Deloitte, and growing professional services firms and software companies. Spiers is also on the board of her local Rotary club spearheading its student exchange program.

Amy Stein is the director of philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, NY. She is responsible for relationship building, stewarding major donors and cultivating prospective donors, creating and implementing solicitation strategy, and executing all aspects of fundraising events. Stein also works on building partnerships throughout the community and engaging members of the Jewish community. On the board of NCJW’s Rochester section since June 2015, she has been serving as section president since June 2017.

Sue Tilis is assistant treasurer of NCJW. An NCJW life member for 35 years, she is chair of the program support and by-laws committees and serves as a member of the development, investment, and finance committees. Previously Tilis was co-chair of FAN, chair of the 2014 NCJW national convention, and president of both NCJW’s Greater New Orleans (LA) and Greater Dallas (TX) sections, holding various posts with both. She now resides in Atlanta.

Samantha Weil is NCJW’s marketing and communications associate. She joined NCJW as an intern in the spring of 2017, and has been helping to mobilize our national network ever since. Her background is in using film as a tool for advocacy. She works to engage our members on all matters of national importance to NCJW.

Faith Williams is the senior legislative associate in NCJW’s Washington office on issues regarding civil rights, economic justice, LGBTQ, and immigration. She lobbies Congress and represents NCJW on relevant regulatory matters and also serves as staff coordinator of NCJW’s Promote the Vote, Protect the Vote initiative.