Home Federation Quiet leadership of influence seeks no power but it changes lives

Quiet leadership of influence seeks no power but it changes lives


By Daniel Staffenberg, CEO, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

The Hebrew Bible tells the stories of two kinds of leader: kings and prophets. The kings always were fighting each other, waging war against enemies, both external and internal. Kings had power, and throughout history, people fight for power.

The other type of leader were prophets. They led reluctantly, often preferring to let others step forward into seats of power. They led with words.

When asked by G-d to step into leadership the prophets message took on a theme … Isaiah said, I am a man of unclean lips. Jeremiah said I cannot speak; I am just a child. Jonah tried to run away. As for Moses at the burning bush, when God said lead, Moses kept saying No. Who am I? They will not believe in me. I am not a man of power, I don’t speak well. Send someone else.

Yet who do we remember all these generations later? Most of the kings are long forgotten. It is the words of the prophets that continue to inspire. This seems so backward, since they had no formal power. What they had was more enduring than power.

They had influence. And as Kierkegaard once said: when a king dies his power ends. When a prophet dies his influence begins.

This month we honor one such leader who has served our community for twenty years, Skip Kozakewicz.

It is hard to believe how quickly time has passed, but it’s a testament to his remarkable abilities, passion, and commitment to our community, that we can’t remember a time when Skip wasn’t at the center.

Throughout the years, Skip has consistently displayed exemplary skills in crafting engaging content, professionalizing, and improving the Reflector, and fostering meaningful relationships with our community, both individuals and our agencies.

His unique ability to articulate the events and nature of our community clearly and concisely has helped us connect our community. His messages and work speak effectively to diverse audiences, strengthening our partners and Federation in the process.

Among many wonderful qualities Skip’s compassion and meticulous attention to the individuals stand out. Whether it was ensuring that life events were properly commemorated, agencies celebrated or in developing impactful stories, his expertise has consistently been the bedrock of our community.

Beyond Skip’s professional achievements, it is worth mentioning the positive influence he has on his colleagues. Skip is always present for his peers and colleagues with an uplifting word, unwavering positivity, willingness to do what needs to be done.

Skip is a quiet and caring mentor, creating an environment that inspires, fosters growth, and encourages teamwork.

Skip’s tireless efforts and dedication have not gone unnoticed. There is rarely a community event or instance when Skip is not there, to document and celebrate. He is an invaluable asset in keeping our community connected and organized.

Twenty years of outstanding work is a remarkable achievement. As we honor Skip for twenty years and look forward to many more years of his expertise and collaborative spirit, we look froward to his narrating the ever-changing landscape of Jewish Richmond together.

If you would like to honor Skip for twenty years of service, please join us in supporting the Reflector by making a gift to the Friends of the Reflector Campaign.

To reach out to me, feel free to email  daniel@jewishrichmond.org.