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From Pod Peers to Board Members

March 30, 2022

As we come to the end of the first cohort of the Slingshot Fellowship, what an optimal time for reflection. Over the course of 18 months, we’ve embarked on this journey as young adults. One component of this experience has put us into a trio, our “pod”, to learn more about others in the cohort and have a place for discourse between our monthly learnings and retreats. Our pod felt like a match made in Jewish heaven (since that’s not a thing, maybe more like at the top of Jacob’s ladder?). We clicked from the start. Matt, Debra, and I were all in slight transitions, in the midst of moving around and resettling, and we had a lot to discuss both personally and professionally. We were eager to learn as much as we could from one another, of each other’s experiences, and offer as much insight to help one another on our journeys. 

During our first pod zoom, we sat in our prospective homes and shared the ins and outs of our lives and our philanthropic paths.  Matt and I quickly realized we were among a Slingshot board member and felt a bit like we were amongst royalty! While we were all on this fellowship journey together, we had a seasoned Slingshot board member with real experience. We learned about Debra’s path through Slingshot and how it has shaped and supported her philanthropic journey and identity as she stepped into the president role of her family’s foundation. Matt and I had plenty of questions! How did she choose Slingshot’s board to ultimately serve on? How had it shaped her knowledge about boards? She gave us the inside scoop of what a board like Slingshot could offer: that it was an educational setting that was invested in growing board members and leaders.  We also learned that it was invested in growing each individual leader’s interests as well as areas for growth. How unique for a board to be so invested in the learning opportunity it presented? We were intrigued from the start. 

As the fellowship continued we had a lot of fun meeting over zoom each month. Matt was patient as first I and then Debra spoke of our babies on the way. He delved into his adventures prepping for his summer work at Camp Newman and the challenges summer camps were experiencing amidst Covid. Debra asked questions about my family’s foundation and we collaborated to help her figure out her first steps and desires for her family’s foundation’s establishment and future impact. I was fascinated to learn about her journey through Slingshot’s many program opportunities and then ultimately how she’d grown in her philanthropic interests since serving on the Slingshot board. 

At the end of 2021 Rachel, the Chief Program Officer at Slingshot, and our fellowship orchestrator, presented to the group that the Slingshot board was looking to bring on some new members. To Debra’s delight, Matt and I couldn’t have acted faster. We both reached out to her directly to talk more about the prospect. We applied to join and are thrilled now to both be a part of this board as a whole pod! Our monthly discussions continue. I don’t think they’ll stop since they’re enjoyable and enlightening. Now we have even more to discuss! 

As we just completed our first board meeting of 2022, I am pleased to report Matt and I survived! We got to discuss some of the new goals ahead for Slingshot and the board and learn more about each board member. Matt and I are thrilled to serve as new board members of Slingshot and feel fortunate to be finishing out our fellowship, with Debra, in the coming months. It has been a terrific experience that is shaping each of our leadership and we look forward to putting our learning to work as we serve in our new roles as board members! 

Gila Modell is in one of three Pods in the inaugural Slingshot Fellowship.