The Mayberg Center

Great leaders strengthen and change cultures, attract talent, and stretch others, maximizing their natural gifts and taking them farther than they thought possible. We believe that really great leadership also demands high ethical standards, mindfulness, intentionality and a deep desire to grow other people to reach their potential. The world’s religious traditions offer profound insights into these aspects of leadership. At the Mayberg Center, we draw on the deep wellsprings of Jewish knowledge and the best of contemporary research to study the art and practice of leadership within a challenging university setting to address real-world issues, bolster conceptual frameworks and help you develop practical leadership skills.

The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.

George Washington

Conversations that Matter Collage


Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

Golda Meir

Our Mission

The Mayberg Center is dedicated to advancing community-based scholarship in the field of leadership and professional development for the Jewish community and beyond. Housed in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), the Center is a vibrant laboratory for teaching, learning, and educational engagement. We are committed to cultivating a diverse intellectual community that bridges the work of academics and practitioners for critical conversations about the way leadership, sourced in Judaism and other wisdom communities, has the power to transform individuals and organizations, nationally and globally.

Take Your Soul to Work Podcast

“Take Your Soul to Work” is a podcast hosted by Dr. Erica Brown provides a daily meditation under two minutes that explores 365 different leadership behaviors or characteristics, one for every day of the year based on a five-day work week. It’s based on the Simon and Schuster book, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership.

Podcast  Spotify


Conversations that Matter


The Freedom of Forgiveness:

Perspectives from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Moderated by David Gregory, Former Host of NBC's "Meet the Press"


Dr. Erica Brown, Director, GWU's Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership

Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam, All Dulles Area Muslim Society

Senior Pastor Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, Foundry Methodist Church

The Mayberg Center hosted a "Conversations that Matter" event where experts discussed what our faith traditions can teach us in this difficult moment for our nation. (To watch the recording, please use password: D6EiU!D#.)

Watch the Recording (Password: D6EiU!D#)


A Special Thanks to All Our Teachers during COVID

Thank you, Teachers! from GSEHDWEB on Vimeo.

The Mayberg Center is Grateful for the On-Going Dedication of Teachers, who are Judaism's first responders!

HIAS Values Initiative

HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) began 130 years ago to assist Jewish immigrants to the United States. It has since evolved to an organization that provides wraparound services to refugees and asylum seekers of all nationalities and races. The Mayberg Center is currently working with HIAS’s senior leadership, staff and board to deepen the Jewish underpinnings of its universal mission by assessing its current values and how they inform practice.


Leadership Lunches are Back!

Conversations on Inclusive Leadership

Hosted by Dr. Erica Brown

Ambassador Fitzgerald Haney"Negotiating a Black Jewish Identity in Complex Times," March 17th, 12:00 - 1:00 PM (EST)


Ambassador Haney served as the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica under the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017. He has had a distinguished career as an American Diplomat and international businessman and speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and conversational French. He has served on a number of non-profit and community boards such as the Foundation of Jewish Culture (co-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer); Ayecha, a resource organization for Jews of Color and as an appointed member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. 

Watch the Recording


Judith Heumann"Being Heumann: Promoting Everyone's Abilities," April 7th, 12:00 - 1:00 PM (EST)


Judith Heumann International Disability Rights activist. Author (with Kristen Joiner), Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. Featured in Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, a 2020 American award winning documentary film, directed by James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, produced by the Obama Higher Ground Production. Senior Fellow, at the Ford Foundation (2017-2019), wrote “Road Map for Inclusion: Changing the Face of Disability in Media”. Served in the Obama and Clinton Administrations.

Watch the Recording


Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein"Working for Diversity," May 10th, 12:00 - 1:00 PM (EST)


Isaiah Rothstein is a Jew of Color born and raised in Monsey, NY. Isaiah is pulled towards building platforms for Jews of all backgrounds to celebrate their identities and affinities-together. Isaiah received rabbinic ordination and master of social work from Yeshiva University. During his spare time, Isaiah enjoys writing music, biking and philosophizing about the future of American Jewry Currently, Isaiah serves as the Rabbi-in-residence for Hazon and Be’chol Lashon and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Watch the Recording


All conversations will be hosted by Dr. Erica Brown, Director of the Mayberg Center and moderator of the Take Your Soul to Work Podcast.

This session will be recorded. You must RSVP to receive the recording.

Funding for this program has been generously provided by the Academic Engagement Network through its Improving the Campus Climate Initiative (ICCI)

Previous Leadership Lunches


Dr. Marty Linsky

"Leadership and Maintaining a Sacred Heart"

Watch the Recording (Password: 4FC3d=*u)


Marco Greenberg

"Going Primitive: A New Theory of Leadership"


Our Programs

The Mayberg Center provides programming that brings academics and practitioners into conversation with each other to catalyze creativity and innovation, both in theory and in practice.

Conversations that Matter

This annual lecture presents well-known academics and practitioners in conversation with each other on leadership issues of national and spiritual importance from a Jewish lens. Previous panel discussions focused on character education, civil discourse, social justice, history and truth-telling, forgiveness and brought together luminaries from multiple disciplines including David Brooks, Ruth Messinger, Jeffrey Goldberg, Sarah Hurwitz, Moshe Halbertal, Dara Horn, Deborah Lipstadt and David Gregory.

Professional Development Seminars

The Center runs seminars for Jewish educators and nonprofit professionals using GSEHD faculty, national and local specialists on topics such as teacher assessment and evaluation, communication and effective social media use, and anxiety management for both teachers and students. These days provide networking opportunities while bringing academics and consultants into a rich exchange with practitioners, illustrating the Center’s commitment to community-based scholarship.


The Mayberg Center selects issues of national or international importance that could benefit from a deeper immersive, interdisciplinary conversation over the course of a day or a multi-day cohort based experience. We then identify key stakeholders and experts – senior professionals, lay leadership, and funders - to enhance collaboration and develop new ideas for the field. For example, we brought together heads of major North American Jewish nonprofits that provide a variety of leadership development opportunities to assess their effectiveness and share best practices. We have also hosted the Network for Research in Jewish Education Conference.


In addition to initiating programs, the Mayberg Center also provides consulting services to a select number of organizations each year. Using our experience and expertise in leadership and professional development, we design with the organization’s leadership, a platform to do reflective thinking and visioning by…

  • Framing challenges.
  • Creating a sound educational agenda.
  • Providing leading speakers.
  • Devising a list of outcomes.
  • Evaluating success.

People sometimes ask me: if you look back, what were your biggest mistakes? I will answer: we thought we had great dreams. And now we understand that they were not so great. Dream big. The bigger your dream, the more you will achieve.

Yitzhak Rabin


The Mayberg Center at GWU brought extraordinary wisdom, creativity and professionalism to a major collaborative initiative. Their understanding of the field of Jewish thought and approaches to conveying Jewish wisdom in ways that engage and excite participants is truly remarkable.

David Raphael
CEO & Co-Founder
Jewish Grandparents Network


The best way to predict your future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln


Leadership Development

If your nonprofit is interested in studying leadership with the Mayberg Center, please see the menu of leadership workshops below. Our workshops offer a meld of leadership and organizational literature, case studies, and personal reflection. All are framed within Jewish texts and values. Each offering will be customized to the needs of your organization, and each workshop below can be a self-contained unit. We recommend, however, that in order to introduce, integrate and evaluate the impact of any learning, you consider a three or five-part series on a given topic. We are also happy to explore other leadership topics within our area of expertise if not listed below.

Relationship Building

Lay/Professional Relations – Explore the roles and responsibilities of this unique partnership, its limitations and its opportunities. Included in our discussion will be suggestions on how to build a web of relationships to help support your institution and advance your mission.

Dealing with Difficult People – One of the hardest management skills is dealing with difficult people. In this seminar will discover how diverse our notions are of what constitutes a difficult person and examine very personally how we navigate these murky waters. We’ll conclude with lots of tips, techniques and strategies to help you grow this aspect of your leadership. 

Conflict Resolution – How do you identify a problem and mange resistance to its solution? Using business literature, this session will look at how participants currently manage conflict and complaints and share techniques and solutions to handling challenging situations with great clarity, confidence and optimism.

Institution Building

Board Development – Discuss the composition, responsibilities and relationships that constitute successful boards and how to run one with a focus on building a cohesive team. We will also discuss how board members can be better organizational advocates by helping them construct a compelling case based on the mission of your agency.

Enhanced Succession Planning – We don’t always consider future leadership until the last moment. This seminar will examine structures and mechanisms for identifying and mentoring future lay or professional leaders so that the goals and implementation of a leader or leadership team can continue when transitioning to another.

Supervision and Mentoring – What makes a great supervisor or mentor? We will look at some definitions from the world of business and education and then do some hands-on training to make supervision and mentoring better and more consistent throughout your organization.

Becoming an Effective Ambassador for Your Organization – This intensive training prepares volunteers and professionals to take the positive message of your organization to their constituency and the public. Exercises in commanding presence, messaging and public speaking build an awareness of what it takes to be an effective ambassador.

The Art of Fund-Raising – Don’t be afraid to fund-raise. You’re doing people a favor. Using Jewish sources and professional business literature we will see how fund-raising provides the opportunity to do a mitzvah. Through exercises in this workshop you will hone the skills to fundraise effectively and guilt-free.

Making Meetings Matter  - This seminar explores the art of running meetings that are intentional, productive and valuable from start to finish.  Learn to set an effective agenda and stick to it. Master facilitation skills to generate meaningful conversation and resolve conflict.

Visions and Mission

Change, Vision and the Growth Mindset – Delve into research that explores success and its correlation with the capacity for open-mindedness. How open-minded are you, really? How does your state of mind contribute to your ability to envision a different future as a leader and to mentor others to transformative and sustainable change?

Innovate! – How well does your organization manage change and stimulate creativity? This workshop will inspire you and your organization to think outside of the box and inside the heads of leaders who harness innovation to stay relevant. Learn to introduce and integrate change so that it is sustainable.

Organizational Culture

Team-Building - How are teams forged without being forced? In this workshop, we ask discuss setting expectations, creating good intentions and focusing on honesty and trust to consider how people of different temperaments complicate and complement one another. Good teams make us wiser as individuals and more nimble and strategic as organizations.

Diversity and Inclusion - Sometimes our work culture can feel exclusive and alienating to outsiders and insiders alike. This seminar will explore some of the sensitive issues around diversity in our own organizations. What is it like to be a non-Jew working in a “Jewish” building or a non-Jewish board member? How do professionals or lay leaders who keep kosher feel at a lunch in a non-kosher restaurant? We’ll explore some of the subtle tensions of diversity and what we can do to create a more open, tolerant spaces for ourselves and our colleagues.

An Attitude of Gratitude – Most volunteers and professionals feel overworked and undervalued. This workshop will focus on how to motivate people by making them feel appreciated and offer practical techniques for appreciating the people who make our organizations thrive. Sincere appreciation inspires productivity, good will and loyalty and is critical to retaining professionals and growing lay leaders.

Evaluation and Assessment – This workshop focuses on writing and using surveys and evaluation forms to understand the impact of the work you do. Learn to make evaluation part of the culture of your organization and see enhanced and measurable results.

Leadership Presence and Impact

Public Speaking - Tongue-tied and nervous every time you approach a podium? Does your professional represent you with sophistication and ease and can your lay leader make a compelling case in front of a mike? This interactive workshop will allow participants to practice and get critiqued in a safe and nurturing space.

Motivating and Inspiring Others - This session will explore traditional Jewish texts and popular leadership literature as a platform for thinking about what inspires us in the non-profit work that we do. We will then practice using personal stories connected to our organization as sources of inspiration to re-energize ourselves, our volunteers and our professional staff.

Time Management - Help your professionals and lay leaders use time well to get better results. Whether you’re a procrastinator or a workaholic, learn to think differently about time and enhance your productivity.

Effective Communication Skills – Learn to speak so others listen and listen so others respond. Together we will focus on how to create and deliver clear and impactful presentations and then apply some successful presentation techniques in thinking about what does and does not work in a variety of settings. We will also consider how to structure meetings and set meeting agendas to engage more participation and achieve optimal results.

Organizational Writing with Impact - From e-mails to direct mailers, from speeches to thank you notes, writing is an essential skill in professional and lay leadership development. With hands-on writing exercises and immediate feedback, participants in this workshop will learn how to write to be remembered.

Each (leader) must possess seven characteristics: wisdom, humility, fear of God, hatred of unjust gain, love of truth, be respected, and of upstanding reputation.



The Mayberg Center has been an invaluable thought partner in working with HIAS lay and professional leadership as well as our diverse staff across the globe to help us articulate, educate ourselves, and model those core values which define us as a Jewish organization.

Mark Hetfield
President and CEO


The Mayberg Center provides Momentum with valuable educational and leadership consultation which contributes tremendously to the success and impact of our initiatives.

Dr. Ronit Ziv-Kreger
Education and Leadership Development


If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams


About Us


The Mayberg Center is dedicated to advancing community-based scholarship in the field of Jewish leadership and professional development. Housed in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), the Center is a vibrant laboratory for teaching, learning, and educational engagement. We are committed to cultivating a diverse intellectual community that bridges the work of academics and practitioners for critical conversations about the way leadership, sourced in Judaism and other wisdom communities, has the power to transform individuals and organizations, nationally and globally.

I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.

Rosa Parks

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

We accomplish this by:

  • Offering programs on challenging, contemporary issues with an interdisciplinary approach that brings academics and practitioners together in conversation to enrich their research and their work.
  • Presenting opportunities to learn the art of leadership with an array of experts in the field.
  • Partnering with other nonprofits and educational institutions in a consultant capacity to train their professionals and lay boards using cutting-edge leadership literature in consonance with Jewish and other wisdom texts to build a reflective, open, and thoughtful learning communities.

Why Us?

There are a lot of places to grow your leadership. Why study with us?

Leadership Education is Deeper than Leadership Training

Many organizations offer off-the-shelf trainings. The Mayberg Center is housed within a nationally recognized School of Education. Its experts are master pedagogues who understand the transformative power of great teaching and comprehensive learning. Each class is a master class, carefully composed and expertly delivered to deepen understandings and transform thinking.


Spiritual Grounding

The work we do is informed by and includes Jewish texts and values, in addition to central teachings from other faith and spiritual traditions. We believe that being in touch with what inspires leaders, what holds them accountable and what gives them hope in the darkest hours is essential to mine and grow in leadership development.


You Are the Text

Jewish tradition is grounded in texts and their interpretation. There are many theories and books on leadership, and while there is much to learn, the art of developing leaders does not begin with concepts from a book but with you as the text as a leader and a human being. We respect that the experiences of your life and work are the ultimate teachers.


Personalized Attention

We customize our programs to meet your specific organizational needs through interviews, discussions and focus groups. Effective leadership training is never one-size fits all.


Strategic Visioning

Using exercise and case studies, we provide both the constructive space and the challenge to take your organization beyond where it currently is, helping you recognize your strengths, setting broad organizational goals and discussing ways to evaluate your success.


Honest Feedback

It’s not easy to know how your organization or leadership may be getting in its own way. We help you analyze some of the barriers to success by gently holding up a mirror to thinking, behaviors and strategies that may be holding you back.


Peer Mentoring

In Jewish tradition, study is best accomplished through havruta, paired learning that focuses on complementary strengths. In addition to frontal instruction, we create frameworks to help you work more effectively with others on your team, advising ways to maximize peer, collegial mentoring so that the learning does not stop when the official work with us does.


Learning in a Safe, Confidential Space

We create learning covenants, what we call a “brit” in Hebrew, with each of our seminar participants to ensure that confidentiality is a priority. This enables more authentic and deeper sharing, while offering each workshop or seminar members the capacity to be vulnerable, discuss mistakes and experiment with creative solutions.


Ongoing Support

It takes time to process and integrate new learning into new leadership behaviors. We provide ongoing support after formal instruction to help you when you need it most: on your time.


Faculty and Staff

Dr. Benjamin Jacobs

Dr. Benjamin Jacobs

Interim Director, Mayberg Center & Associate Research Professor, Experiential Jewish Education, GSEHD

Dr. Ben Jacobs is currently serving as interim director of the Mayber Center, and he also directs the graduate programs in Israel Education and Experiential Jewish Education and serves as Special Assistant to the Dean for Jewish Studies Programs. He has spent most of his professional career preparing social studies teachers and Jewish educators for school and non-school settings, and consulting with various Jewish education agencies (including The iCenter for Israel Education, Taglit-Birthright Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education) on curriculum, teaching, and research.

Learn more about Dr. Jacobs >