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A Toast and Remarks from MIchael Hill, Executive Director of the Dorot Foundation

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A Toast from Michael Hill, Executive Director, The Dorot Foundation
for "Inspirations: A Tribute to our Founders"
The Jewish Women's Archive's 10th Birthday Celebration in Boston

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Thank you for the honor of speaking tonight. I'm here on behalf of the Dorot Foundation and its Board:

I'm very pleased that one of the foundation's board members is here tonight, Jeanie Ungerleider. In fact, it was Jeanie, with her strong belief in the importance and power of women's stories, with her remarkable sense of people, her passion for social justice and her eye for innovation, who first brought to Dorot a start up organization, which some might've called an upstart organization, the Jewish Women's Archive.

Spring, 1996 … A proposal for a three-day planning conference … which Dorot funded. It was the beginning of a relationship that quickly grew from the traditional grantee/funder to one more of colleagues, friends and thought partners.

In 10 years, JWA has grown; it has experimented, it has succeeded—at times wildly … it has also failed, as any organization that takes smart risks is going to do. One of the characteristics Dorot respects most in the Archive is that when it falls short, it takes the time and effort to figure out why. To learn from its mistakes and then, to move ahead as a smarter organization.

In short, JWA is what any funder hopes for … a great investment.

AND, I believe, it is well on its way to becoming a GREAT organization—as defined by Jim Collins in Good to Great—why some companies make the leap and others don't.

In it, Collins defines Greatness by three criteria:

  • Superior performance against a mission;
  • For a long time; (15 years), and
  • If it disappeared, there would be a hole that would be difficult to fill; people would miss it.

I think JWA is well on its way…

It doesn't happen overnight. It takes a huge effort sustained across time. Momentum builds slowly. After a long period of BUILD UP, you reach what Good to Great calls BREAKTHROUGH. Your mission clarifies, work improves, your impact grows and more people take notice. With all the great work the Archive has done in its first ten years, we at Dorot believe that it's been Build Up to an even greater Breakthrough on behalf of current and future generations.

So please, raise your glasses…,

To Gail, to the JWA board members, especially the Founding Board who signed on to an untested organization with a vision of a better world, and to all the staff members who have done the daily work…

To the last 10 years…
To the next 10 years…
Thank you, Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

I have another role tonight. I've been asked to make an introduction. If you want to know schools attended, degrees attained, jobs held and honors received, you'll have to check Google.

I will say this…
The most important asset an organization has is its people.
What separates the Great organization from one that is merely Good?
In the five years of research that went into Good to Great, Collins and his team found that it starts with Getting the Right People on board.
They also found it takes a special kind of Leader.
And not the kind of leader they expected to find. It's not the kind of leader you see on the cover of magazines—the charismatic, brash, hard charging type—Jack Welch of GE.
Instead, they were surprised to find something they dubbed a Level 5 Leader.
Quoting the book, "It's not that Level 5 Leaders have NO ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are INCREDIBLY AMBITIOUS—but their ambition is FIRST and FOREMOST for the INSTITUTION … NOT themselves."

The Jewish Women's Archive is Fortunate to Have Such a Leader … Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honor and pleasure to introduce … Gail Reimer.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "A Toast and Remarks from MIchael Hill, Executive Director of the Dorot Foundation." (Viewed on January 24, 2018) <>.


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