Joshua Avedon MBA, CEO
Joshua Avedon is a social entrepreneur, writer, educator, and executive coach. Joshua has spent the decade writing, teaching, and advocating 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 Sarit in the house where he grew up in Venice, California.
Shawn Landres PhD, Senior Fellow & Director of Research
Shawn Landres has more than two decades of international experience in organizational development, network building, social scientific research & analysis, and interreligious leadership, from the Clinton Administration’s Reinventing Government initiative to projects funded by the U.S. State Department and the British government. Shawn serves as a Los Angeles County Commissioner on the Quality and Productivity Commission, whose mission is to provide advice, innovative ideas, assistance and support to the County’s elected officials, managers, and employees to promote the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of County public services. He is Chair of the Board of Managers of Hub LA, a community of changemakers whose mission is to advance social innovation in Los Angeles and beyond; and a non-executive Manager of SPARK Experience, a full-service digital agency that applies a data-driven approach to create websites, apps, campaigns, and communication strategies, leveraging psychology and direct user research to ensure success. In 2013 Shawn was elected by his peers to the Board of Directors of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. He is an Advisor on Faith-Based and Interreligious Innovation to The Nexus: Global Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. Shawn also serves on the Sh’ma Advisory Committee and the Liberty Hill Foundation Advisory Council.
Serena Oberstein MPA, Senior Strategist
Serena Oberstein is an experienced strategist, activist, and operations specialist. She has worked in government, on political campaigns, and throughout the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. Prior to joining Jumpstart, Serena was part of the executive team at Vision To Learn, a national nonprofit where she oversaw strategic growth and service delivery across 10 states and 75 school districts equipping children in high-need communities with the glasses they need to receive a more equitable education. Throughout her career, Serena’s focus has been on social justice, issues affecting marginalized populations, and public policy. As a special assistant to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, she had the chance to analyze and craft policy on a variety of issues facing the city and its citizens. She has worked in Jewish organizations, focusing on national civil rights and civil liberty issues, including Bend the Arc (as Southern California Director) and JStreet (as Southwest Regional Director). She received her Master of Public Administration from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service where she specialized in management and financing urban governments.
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.