Thursday, September 17, 2009

The bigger conversation

Confident in the knowledge that this grant has created the opportunity for us to reshape the future of our schools and possibly the entire community, I decided that in addition to the strong task force that was appointed, we needed the insight of people who had been through many years and many businesses models. Seven people were asked to spend 90 minutes on an August afternoon sharing their thoughts about our future; all agreed to participate even from out of town. Only two of them had any direct contact with the schools, all others where either supporters of other day schools or had spoken openly about their lack of support for day school education. They came to the meeting because it was intriguing to be asked their business opinions for application to the Jewish community, because they like each other, and because our family has built up enough social capital to ask for this kind of attention. My goal was not only to listen to their thoughts but to test the idea that people who are asked to share their expertise without being asked for anything else are happy to do so. We so rarely ask people who are extremely successful to really think about challenges in our Jewish community they way they think about their business challenges. The meeting was very successful and they voluntarily asked to be kept apprised of our progress. Additionally, I am confident they would participate again for other similar challenges because they had a great time sharing their thought with each other. I plan on doing so to address the high cost of tuition next time.

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