Currently a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and co-founder & board co-chair of Jumpstart Labs, he serves as chair of the Los Angeles County Quality & Productivity Commission, which oversees the nation’s oldest and largest local government innovation fund, a City of Santa Monica Planning Commissioner, and an active partner in early-stage ventures and social enterprises. Shawn’s expertise is grounded in more than two decades of international experience in nonprofit, philanthropic, and academic leadership, social entrepreneurship, network building, and organizational development. A respected researcher, editor, essayist, and speaker, both in the U.S. and abroad, Shawn’s achievements have earned extensive attention, from The White House, which has featured him as a “spotlight innovator,” to media including The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The New York Times, Ha’aretz, Chronicle of Philanthropy, GOOD.is, and FastCo.EXIST. A Los Angeles native who grew up in Santa Monica, where he and his wife Zuzana are now being raised by their two young daughters, Shawn holds degrees in Religious Studies and Social Anthropology from Columbia University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Oxford. He has co-edited four books and published award-winning articles and essays that advance intergroup understanding.
Joshua Avedon MBA, CEO
Joshua Avedon is a social entrepreneur, writer, educator, and executive coach. For over a decade Joshua has written, taught, and advocated around the globe for philanthropic and programmatic innovation within the Jewish community – and beyond. Certified as an executive coach (International Coach Federation, 2016), family philanthropy advisor/trainer (21/64, 2013), and facilitator (Center for Leadership Initiatives, 2009) he is a recognized expert in navigating innovators and institutional leaders alike through strategic thinking and tactical implementation of new programs and projects. He advises, mentors, and coaches both emerging leaders and changemakers within established organizations, helping them develop the knowledge and connections necessary to achieving their visions. Joshua was an inaugural American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Global Justice Fellow and is a member of the Selah Leadership Network. Joshua is the author of a number of publications on Jewish innovation and philanthropy, served as co-editor for the Connected to Give report series, and as co-author of Connected to Give: Risk and Relevance. He holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Mass Communications as well as an MBA in nonprofit management from the American Jewish University where he currently serves as adjunct faculty teaching emerging social entrepreneurs. He and his wife Stephanie live with their three children Elias, Navi, and Spirit in the house where he grew up in Venice, California.
Shawn Landres PhD, Senior Fellow & Director of Research
Guila Benchimol MA, Senior Advisor
Guila Benchimol is a PhD candidate in Sociological Criminology at the University of Guelph and she holds an M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy. Her research and advocacy focus on sexual violence, with a special interest in violence in religious communities. Guila currently consults for and addresses Jewish organizations and communities regarding abuse prevention and intervention and has trained Jewish professionals and rabbinical students across the denominations on child sexual abuse and sexual victimization. She is also a research assistant at the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence where she has worked on projects related to homicide and domestic violence. Guila brings over 10 years of experience as a Jewish educator to her consulting work on safety and protection policies and to her interfaith work addressing some of the common social issues surrounding sexual violence. She was previously the Managing Director of National Conference for Synagogue Youth (NCSY) Canada, the founder and director of an international NCSY overnight wilderness summer program for high school girls, and the Director of Judaic Studies at Tiferes Bais Yaakov where she also taught Tanach to grades 9 through 12. She is a proud alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program. You can read articles Guila has written in Huffington Post Canada, The Canadian Jewish News, The Forward, The Jewish Week, AltMuslimah and more.