JYA Leadership Academy

Compassionate Leadership in an Uncertain World

Our Purpose

The JYA Leadership Academy is a cohort-based leadership program for young Jewish adults in Silicon Valley desiring to level up personally and professionally. The Academy is designed to create a network of passionate, skilled, and ethical emerging leaders who will make their own organizations more successful, and the Jewish community even stronger and more vibrant.

The Need For Leadership Training Has Never Been Greater

We’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturn and widespread human rights protests. The speed and scope of these challenges has created extraordinary challenges for all leaders today. The need for compassionate, impactful leadership has never been greater. Our local community and the world urgently need young adults to step up and lead. But the type of leadership needed is different than what was required before.  Leaders in this new world must be adaptable, ethical, responsive, courageous and make decisions rooted in core values. We are pleased to offer – for the first-time ever – the JYA Leadership Academy, Compassionate Leadership in an Uncertain World.

9 Month Virtual Program, World-Class Leadership Experts

The program kicks off from 9 am to 3 pm on Sunday, September 13, 2020 with a full day of sessions. Then starting on October 7th, we’ll meet every other week from 7 to 9 pm on the first and third Wednesday nights.  Over the nine months of the Academy, there will be 35 hours of curated Academy sessions led by dozens of leadership experts and highly-regarded business and community leaders

Engaging Interactive Experience, Meaningful Impact

The 2020-2021 JYA Leadership Academy cohort will be limited to 18 participants to create a personal and engaging experience.  Teams of 4 to 5 participants will select and engage in projects that re-enforces Academy concepts and skills.  Through community impact projects, participants will make a direct and positive impact within the Silicon Valley Jewish community.

Designed For Young Adults, Lifelong Connections

The JYA Leadership Academy has been designed for young adult professionals, post-grad thru 32 years old, who live or work in Silicon Valley, CA.  Develop life-long friendships through expertly-planned engaging and immersive learning activities. Participants will experience a program that is meaningful, life-changing, impactful and fun.

Program Summary

Over the course of monthly evening sessions held over 9 months, participants will increase awareness of their own values, personal leadership style, and strengths.  Sessions topics include:

  • Jewish ethical leadership
  • Vision and goal setting
  • Stress and Time Management
  • The Power of Storytelling
  • Understanding Your Own Strengths Through A Personality Assessment
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Team Building
  • Creating a Healthy Organization
  • Responsive Leadership
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Effective Communications
  • Building a High Performing Team
  • Influencing Skills
  • Running Effective Meetings
  • Fireside Chats with Top Business and Community leaders

We believe that it is up to each of us to become the best person we can be, and do our best to make the world a better place.  As Rabbi Tarfon said in Pirke Avot 2:21 “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.” We’re committed to fostering the next generation of compassionate, impactful Jewish leaders who will use their influence to help their own teams and organizations be even more successful, and to help ensure a thriving Jewish community.

The JYA Leadership Academy will be a life-changing opportunity. Participants will learn and grow to more effectively lead others and be a force for positive change in their organization and the larger community. They’ll meet people who will become partners for future endeavors. Members of the cohort will make friends they’ll have for the rest of their life. We’re thrilled to invite you to apply to be in the first and founding cohort of the 2020-2021 JYA leadership Academy.

Leadership Academy sessions will be held (with some changes for holidays):

  • Sunday, September 13th from 9 am to 3 pm, and,
  • The first and third Wednesday evenings between 7 and 9 pm, with the first session starting on October 7th and then going through the graduation event on Monday, May 3rd.

The total in-course time will be approx. 35 hours over the 8 month period.  As well, most of the small group community impact project will be done outside of the regular Academy sessions. Please only apply if you are committed to fully engaging in the program and attending all sessions.

If you have questions and want to know more, you’re invited to attend an info session on Zoom from 7 to 8 pm on July 15 and August 13.  Click the date to register and get the info session login details.

Our Leadership Philosophy

We believe:

  • Everyone can be a leader.  Leadership is learned.
  • Leadership development begins with a commitment to continual self-discovery and learning.
  • Leaders promote change and create the environment in which change can take place.
  • Leaders are individuals who work with others to create positive change.

Academy Flow of Topics

A fundamental principle of leadership development is you can’t lead others until you can lead yourself. Why would others want to follow and engage with someone who doesn’t have his or her own life together?  Based on this premise, the Academy program starts by focusing on leading from our best self, and then builds on this foundation to how we can most effectively lead others. The following chart describes how the Academy extends topics from the self to the team throughout the course of the program.

Leading from Core Values Jewish Core Values Ethical Leadership
Leading with The Why The Power of Storytelling: Telling Your Personal Narrative The Power of Storytelling: Telling Your Team Story

Creating a Compelling Vision and Goals

Leading with Vulnerability-based Trust The Power of Emotional Intelligence Team Building Exercises

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Leading by Recognizing Preferences; Building on Strengths Brain-based Leadership:  Understanding Psychological Safety – Self-Assessment Brain-based Leadership:  Understanding Psychological Safety- Building a Happy High Performing team
Leading by Getting Organized for Success Effective Time and Stress Management

Prioritizing and Creating Action Plans

Running Effective Meetings
Leading by Achieving High Performance The Neuroscience Behind Winning Athletes The Neuroscience of Building High Performance Teams
Leading with the Right Tool, at the Right Time Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Self-Sabotage Responsive Leadership

Develop your Influencing Skills

Pattern Recognition

Leadership and Effective Communication

Application Process

The deadline to submit your completed application is August 16, 2020.  The application process is your chance to to tell us your story, and why you should be selected to be in the first year cohort of the JYA Leadership Academy. The application process allows the option of submitting a short video and up to two letters of recommendation. Finalists will be interviewed by a selection panel. More details about the applications process can be found in the online application.

Selection Criteria

The program will be limited to 18 participants. The selection process will be competitive and based on the following criteria:

  • Submission of online application
  • Post-grad thru 32 years old who live or work in Silicon Valley
  • Upfront commitment to attend all sessions
  • Interest in Jewish values
  • Humble, Hungry and Smart
  • Optional:  Up to 2 letters of recommendation and short video

Academy Presenters & Leadership

(not a complete list)

Noah Alper, Founder of Noah’s Bagels, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach

Noah Alper is the founder of Noah’s Bagels, a large bakery/restaurant chain. Since 2005 he has advised 100’s of entrepreneurs and early stage companies. His expertise includes concept creation, marketing, retailing, food service, sales management. Noah founded five other businesses in addition to the bagel empire he built. He grew the iconic Noah’s Bagels brand from a one-store location in Berkeley, California to a $100 million exit in 6 ½ years, while helping to take it public.


Beth Loeb Davies, Former Director of Learning, Tesla

For over 25 years, Beth Davies has delivered cutting-edge talent management and learning solutions as an employee of Tesla, Microsoft, Apple, and Gap, and as a consultant. She has acquired expertise in culture-focused onboarding, leadership development, sales and product training, manufacturing training, compliance programs, media-enabled learning, and new learning technologies. Currently, Beth serves as an advisor to EdTech startups, hosts the Career Curves podcast, and teaches in the Talent Development & Human Resources master’s program at IE University.

Ira Ehrenpreis, Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners

Ira is a recognized leader in the venture capital industry, having served on the Board, Executive Committee, and as Annual Meeting Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).  He currently serves as the President of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists (WAVC) and as the Chairman of the VCNetwork, the largest and most active California venture capital organization. In 2007, he was named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Men Under 45″. Ira has invested in a wide range of companies, including SpaceX, and serves on the board of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) and numerous other companies.

Kevin Friesen, Director of Academy, Duarte, Inc.

Kevin is a valued and sought-after ambassador of Duarte and their vision to transform people and organizations through unparalleled communication. For over 20 years, Kevin worked in the social sector developing people and programs to serve their communities. Since joining Duarte in 2011, Kevin has influenced thinking and promoted revolutionary change, leading over 500 workshops with over 100 brands and thousands of individuals across the world. He helps awaken natural talents, build confidence, and drive influence in speakers and communicators of all experience levels.

Arnnon Geshuri, Chief People Officer at Livongo

Arnnon Geshuri is the chief people officer at Livongo. In this role, he is responsible for recruiting, onboarding, workforce development, and culture. Previously, Arnnon was the vice president of human resources (CHRO) at Tesla and was responsible for driving people and workplace operations and global recruitment efforts. During his tenure from 2009 through 2017, he oversaw the growth of Tesla from a 400-person, scrappy startup to an integrated, sustainable-energy company with more than 35,000 employees around the globe. Previously, Arnnon was director of staffing operations for Google, where he designed the company’s legendary recruitment organization and talent acquisition strategy.

Harold Goldberg, HG Advisors, 35-year High Tech Silicon Valley Executive Veteran

Harold Goldberg is an experienced Silicon Valley software executive specializing in go to market strategy and execution for software and technology companies. Harold has more than 30 years of experience in senior marketing, strategy and sales roles at top-tier software companies. Most recently Harold was the CMO for Kony Inc helping the company accelerate its growth rate and expand its global market presence. Prior to Kony, Harold was the CMO and Vice President of Strategy for Merced System where he was responsible for Marketing, Product Management and Strategy.

Scott Greenberg, Leadership and Performance Keynote Speaker

For over 20 years, Scott Greenberg has captivated audiences with his high-energy presentations on leadership and peak performance mindset. His diverse client list includes Nike, Coffee Beanery, the Wyndham Hotel Group, the U.S. Air Force and countless other businesses, schools and associations. He’s presented in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Canada, Ecuador, Jamaica, Aruba and Saudi Arabia. He challenges conventional thinking and gets people immediately focused on the ideas and action that matter most.


Oded Hermoni, Early stage investor – Managing partner, J-Ventures Fund

Oded Hermoni is an early stage investor and entrepreneur and works for Rhodium, an early stage investment firm investing in Israel and US companies. Rhodium has invested in companies such Outbrain, Face.com, HopStop, Zooz, Yotpo, Start up Genome and others. Oded is a general partner and co-founder of J-Angels, a community and a VC fund of Jewish-American and Israeli investors in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.


Shlomi Kofman began his appointment as Israel’s Consul General to the Pacific Northwest in August 2017. He most recently served as a Policy Advisor to the Deputy Foreign Ministers based in Jerusalem, Israel. Over the course of his 20-year diplomatic career, Kofman has served as Israel’s Deputy Consul General in New York City, Chief of Staff to Ambassadors in Washington D.C., Deputy Ambassador in Thailand and Deputy Consul General in Shanghai. His past domestic Foreign Ministry positions include Director of North American Economic Affairs, Policy Advisor to the Deputy Foreign Minister, Diplomatic Advisor & Director of the International Department in the Parliament and Ministry of National Infrastructure, and the Head of the Northeast Asia sector.

Linda Lubin Thompson, Leadership Development Consultant & Executive Coach

To drive growth I unlock companies’ best kept secrets–their high-potential leaders just below the executive level. In succession planning meetings they are often deemed “ready in two years,” where they may stay indefinitely. Through targeted programs and proven leadership tools and strategies, plus one-on-one coaching, I help high-potential leaders become “ready now.” Leaders get the skills they need to contribute more to the business, and the company gets a stronger, more capable leadership bench at all levels.


Jeff McColloch, Team Effectiveness Consultant & Leadership Coach

Driven by a genuine delight in seeing teams and leaders succeed, I partner with leaders to make their organizational health become a competitive advantage. Executives and leaders have achieved productivity breakthroughs by honestly assessing their team health, leveraging their team’s strengths, and boldly addressing the “elephants in the room” to combat politics and hit commitments. Using concepts from best-selling author Patrick Lencioni, I employ a simple, highly collaborative, results-oriented approach.


Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark is a Web pioneer, philanthropist, and leading advocate. Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service craigslist, Newmark works to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and grassroots organizations that are “getting stuff done” in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, women in technology, and veterans & military families.


Tina Rosenblum, Ph.D., Partner at Oak & Willow Group

Tina Rosenblum helps people solve problems by thinking analytically and creatively. She brings principles from the academic world of cognitive psychology into real-world everyday solutions. Tina has taught at all levels in academia – elementary through college – and worked twenty years in corporate America, consulting with Fortune 500 companies to enhance their employee engagement and communication.


Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement, Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley

Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia is the Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley. He previously served as Jewish Community Liaison for VITAS Healthcare and, prior to that, spent ten years teaching Jewish Studies at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. He earned a B.A. with Highest Honors in English Literature from UC Berkeley and received his rabbinical training from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has completed both the Rabbinic Leadership Training Program and the Tikkun Middot Training Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Miki Sofer, Vice President at Valor Equity Partners and Former Tesla Director of Worldwide Deliveries

Miki serves as a Vice President at Valor and is responsible for overseeing performance monitoring and metrics across Valor’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining Valor, Miki served in a variety of sales and operations positions at Tesla over a period of seven years. As Director of Worldwide Deliveries, she grew a small, local team into a global customer service and logistics organization, scaling Tesla’s vehicle delivery operation to match a five-fold increase in production. Miki also helped pioneer Tesla’s early sales model, training new recruits and leading dozens of store openings during the company’s period of rapid retail expansion.

Scott Winter, CEO & Chief Curator at the Collaborative Commons

Scott Winter has over 30 years of experience in leadership training and facilitation with a diverse range of clients in the United States and abroad. Currently, he serves as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Schools of Leadership Development at two large federal agencies in Washington, D.C. In addition to his faculty roles, he is a Senior Consultant and Master Facilitator for the United States Olympic Committee, where he leads training programs for their Elite Leader Program and assists with the development of the Functional Area Teams prior to the Olympic Games.

Academy Leadership

Academy Director

David Nassau, JYA VP of Leadership and Intel Product Marketing Manager




Academy Associate Director

Sarah Feldman, Staff Technical Program Manager – Global Analytics, Google



Academy Executive Director

Peter Hoffman, JHTC Board of Directors and JYA Advisor/Mentor

More Important Information:

Session 1: Opening Session
Sept 13, 2020, 9 am to 3 pm PDT (3 sessions with breaks)

  • Welcome and Intros
  • Team Building Exercises
  • Vision, Goals & Expectations for the Academy
  • Leadership & Jewish Core Values (Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia)
  • The Power of Storytelling – Your Personal Narrative (Kevin Friesen)

Session 2
Wednesday, October 7, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Team Building Exercise
  • Emotional Intelligence (Arnnon Geshuri)

Session 3
Wednesday, October 21, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • The Neuroscience of High Performing Athletes (Damon Valentino and Paralympic Gold Medalist)

Session 4
November 4, 2020, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Brain-based Leadership:  Understanding Psychological Safety – Self-Assessment (Scott Winter)

Session 5
November 18, 2020, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • How to Overcome Your Hang-ups & Soar to Success (Scott Greenberg)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat (Craig Newmark)

Session 6
Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Stress and Time Management (Miki Sofer)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat

Session 7
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (Jeff McColloch)

Session 8
Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Creating a Compelling Vision and Goals (Harold Goldberg)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat – Shlomi Kofman and Oded Hermoni

Session 9
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Brain-based Leadership:  Understanding Psychological Safety- Building a Happy High Performing Team (Scott Winter)

Session 10
Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Jewish Core Values & Ethical Leadership (Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia)
  • Leadership and Effective Communication (Tina Rosenblum)

Session 11
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • The Neuroscience of High Performance Teams (Damon Valentino)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat

Session 12
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Responsive Leadership:  The Right Leadership, at the Right Time (Scott Greenberg)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat – Noah Alpers

Session 13
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Informal Leadership … Leading when you don’t have Formal Authority (Linda Thompson)
  • Leadership Fireside Chat

Session 14
Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Pattern Recognition (Arnnon Geshuri)
  • Managing your Career in an Uncertain World (Beth Loeb Davies)

Session 15
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • The Power of Storytelling – Telling your Team Story (Kevin Friesen)

Session 16:  Capstone Projects Presentations and Graduation Celebration
Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 7 to 9 pm PDT

  • Small Group Capstone Presentations

Due to COVID-19 and the recommendations of medical and health experts, we are expecting this 9-month program will be virtual.  We hope to be able to add some in-person experiences – including the concluding graduation dinner in person – if it becomes safe to do so.

The deadline to submit your completed application is August 16, 2020.  The application process is your chance to to tell us your story, and why you should be selected to be in the first year cohort of the JYA Leadership Academy. The application process allows the option of submitting a short video and up to two letters of recommendation. More details about the applications process can be found in the online application.

The small groups process uses project-based learning to re-enforce Academy concepts and skills for participants, strengthen the JYA’s ability to deliver on its vision, and provide a positive impact to the larger Silicon Valley Jewish community. Small groups are a critical component of the Academy. Small groups (groups of 4-5) will select their own a community impact project.  A mentor – selected from the Leadership Academy Advisory Board – will be provided to support each small group with their project.  Small groups will do most of their work on their project outside of regular Academy sessions (similar to a university class team assignment).

Examples of community-impact projects include:

  • Analyze vision and goals with 3-5 Jewish non-profits – what are the lessons learned, best practices, etc
  • Provide strategic advice to a Silicon Valley-based Jewish community organization who has expressed an interest in assistance
  • Organize a professional activity or event for the JYA
  • Silicon Valley showcase of great leadership informed by Jewish values – based on interviews

Fireside chats provide an opportunity to have a conversation with successful leaders from a range of sectors, including start-ups, large companies, government, VCs, and non-profits.   These sessions include introductory remarks from our VIP guest, followed by Q and A, with the questions coming from cohort participants.

“If I am not for myself, who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” –Hillel the Elder

Foundational to the JYA Leadership Academy is using Jewish core values as a ethical compass. A values-based approach to Jewish leadership includes:

  • Continuous self-reflection (heshbon hanefesh) in service of self-improvement
  • Self-improvement (tikkun atzmi) as a necessary first step towards improving the world (tikkun olam)
  • Recognition that the choices we make (nekudot bechirah) have important consequences for ourselves and others.

Course materials will be provided to participants as part of the program.

The program will be limited to 18 participants. The selection process will be competitive and based on the following criteria:

  • Submission of online application
  • Post-grad thru 32 years old who live or work in Silicon Valley
  • Upfront commitment to attend all sessions
  • Interest in Jewish values
  • Humble, Hungry and Smart
  • Optional:  Up to 2 letters of recommendation and short video

The participation cost for the Academy is $360. This subsidized fee is only possible through the generous support of our sponsors and presenters.

A scholarship can be applied for as part of the online registration process. Scholarships will be considered and awarded after acceptance to the program.

The Leadership Academy is a program of JYA – Jewish Young Adults. The JYA’s purpose is: “to enhance the lives of young Jewish professionals in Silicon Valley through leadership development, networking and educational activities.  JYA accomplishes this purpose by: building and sustaining an inspiring, healthy, and thriving community of engaged Silicon Valley Jewish young professionals that provides….

  • Opportunities for young Jewish adults to accelerate their leadership skills
  • Professional networking events to make life and career-changing connections
  • Skill development and educational workshops that enhance personal and professional lives

More info on JYA can be found by going to our website or Facebook Page.

JYA Executive Committee

The JYA is one of the programs of the JHTC.  The JHTC’s mission is to “Inform, connect and educate Silicon Valley Jewish professionals through engaging programs and events.”  More info on JHTC can be found on the organization’s website.

JHTC Board of Directors

We hope that this first cohort will be the first of many.  We have designed the JYA Leadership Academy from a decidedly Silicon Valley perspective. This first year is our pilot project. Based on this first Academy experience -including feedback from participants and the larger community, we’ll assess the need and opportunity for future Leadership Academy programs.

The JYA Leadership Academy is made possible through partnerships and support from the following organizations:


The Consulate General of Israel is the official representative of the State of Israel that serves the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States: Alaska, Northern California (Districts 1-21), Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The Consulate is responsible for coordinating relationships between the State of Israel and national, state & local organizations, businesses, offices of public officials, and citizens within the U.S. Pacific Northwest.


Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley


The mission of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley is to strengthen and enrich the Jewish community locally, in Israel and throughout the world.  Our efforts support educational, social service and charitable programs that exemplify the Jewish values of K’lal Yisrael (taking responsibility for one another), Tzedakah (charity and righteousness), and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).





A Moishe House is a place where young adults in their 20s come together and create vibrant Jewish communities. There are more than 100 communities in over 25 countries around the world. Moishe House Silicon Valley is located between San Francisco and Santa Cruz,  in the heart of Silicon Valley. You can find us adventuring outdoors, putting googley eyes on inanimate objects, having a L’chaim, and helping out in our community.

Do you have questions about the JYA Leadership Academy? We invite you to attend an info session on Zoom from 7 to 8 pm on July 15 or August 13. Click the date to register for the session and get the login details.  You are also welcome to directly contact either Academy director David Nassau (dnassau4@gmail.com) or Academy Executive Director Peter Hoffman (peter@jhtc.org).