Alert

Outdoor pool closed Tuesday, 7/16 after 3:30 pm

The outdoor pool will be closed for swim meet Tuesday, July 16, 3:30-8 p.m. The indoor pool will be open for family swim with inflatables 4-6 p.m.

Mid-year check-in with Isa and Brooke

After three years of rebuilding from the impact of the pandemic, The J was operating more reactively than proactively. So as the organization entered 2024, it seemed to be a good time to take a step back to analyze operations and determine how and where it could improve in order to ensure sustainability. And the timing was ideal as Isa Dorsky stepped into the role of president. Executive Director Brooke Bowles knew it would be important for the two leaders to become “thought partners” as they worked together to develop a long-term vision and strategy for the organization.

We managed to slow both of them down long enough to get their thoughts on the first half of this year…


Two woman stand together in a kitchen with trays of freshly baked Hamantaschen cookies arrayed on the counter next to and behind them
In preparation for the Purim holiday earlier this year, Executive Director Brooke Bowles (l) and President Isa Dorsky baked Hamantaschen cookies together in The J’s kosher kitchen.

LJCC: The J has seen a few consultants recently who’ve worked with the staff. What’s that all about?

Isa: We are fortunate to have a network of professionals from around the country who specialize in maximizing the impact of a Jewish Community Center. We’re taking advantage of their fresh perspective to help identify opportunities that we might be missing out on operationally.

Brooke: We brought in two individuals: one to focus on a comprehensive assessment of the organization, and another to identify a handful of areas where we could have greater impact. This work serves as our beginning step to build strategic goals.

Is the role of president what you expected, Isa? 

Isa: Yes and no. It’s been both harder and easier than I expected in many ways. When Brooke mentioned that she wanted a true thought partner in the role of president, I was eager and excited to be that partner. The greatest challenges are the unknowns that get thrown at us on any given day. But knowing that I am partnering with Brooke and her strong staff, I can be assured that there are no problems we cannot solve.  

One thing that perhaps neither of you accounted for was the war in Israel. How has that changed things?

Brooke: Jewish Community Center CEOs are struggling everywhere to lead our diverse organizations during a time of anguish, fear, and uncertainty. There is a heaviness that sits with our staff and members. Providing physical and psychological safety has become our top priority. Meanwhile, general operations has not slowed. It was more important than ever to have a board in lockstep with management. We’ve received incredible support from our board under Isa’s leadership.

How is the board gelling and working together? 

Isa: I’m so lucky to be supported by such a great group of board members. I think everyone has great respect for one another, many of us coming from diverse backgrounds. It really helps us focus on our current topics and to be able to see things from different perspectives.

Brooke: Our board committees really highlight the expertise of each member. I love watching each committee meeting where members grapple with various issues surrounding capital improvements, financial investments, membership dues, and program quality. Ultimately, these sometimes intense conversations lead to the best recommendations for the full board to review.

What are some of the biggest accomplishments so far this year from a management perspective? 

Brooke: I am proud of every department from the preschool to the fitness center to general administration.  But I would have to say that seeing movement in improving our facilities has been a huge accomplishment thanks to Robert Scott and our board facilities committee.

Isa: And selling out of tickets for our community youth theater production of Annie JR. was pretty cool, too.

What’s been your favorite event so far this year?

Isa: This is the first time in many years I have been able to attend the Jewish Food and Culture Fest without having a major event responsibility. I’ve never been able to just walk around and take it all in – and this was the best year to do it! 

Brooke: Food Fest all the way.

What upcoming event are you most looking forward to? 

Isa: Thursday family fun nights! I attended this summer’s kickoff last week, and it had such great energy already. I got to visit with several friends I wouldn’t see otherwise, and I hope to see more of our community at this members-only event. I know the rest of the summer is going to be just as fun.

Brooke: The funds raised by the upcoming J’la allow us to serve underserved communities. To see the auditorium decorated so beautifully and filled with such a wonderful group of people who are there specifically to raise money for The J — and have a fantastic time while doing so — always warms my heart. That night has become especially important to me.