Leading Edge: Alliance for Excellence in Jewish Leadership
Let's Connect
Headshot of Mackenzie Marcus over an orange background

Alumni Spotlight: Mackenzie Marcus

by Leading Edge

In our new Alumni Spotlight series, we’re excited to elevate the voices and experiences of our leadership programs alumni. We hope to share and celebrate their diverse paths and leadership experiences as agents of change, and inspire our community and the Jewish nonprofit field at large.  

Meet Mackenzie Marcus, board chair at Ekar Farm. Mackenzie is an alum of Leading Partners, which is designed to strengthen the working relationships between CEOs and board chairs. Through her commitment and passion, Mackenzie has developed essential skills, enabling her to lead with confidence and clarity. From implementing a robust succession plan to fostering a culture of honest communication and collaboration within her organization, Mackenzie's leadership style has transformed, driving Ekar Farm's mission forward. 

Alumni Spotlight conversations may be edited and condensed.

What do you think are the most critical leadership qualities needed to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities within Jewish nonprofit organizations right now?

Kindness, and not just niceness, but also knowing how to be honest and direct about what your community and organization is experiencing, so that others can learn and grow alongside you. 

I also believe that accountability is critical, and that includes being accountable to your own needs and those of your team.

How do you see the future of Jewish nonprofit leadership evolving? How has your Leading Edge program experience influenced your perspective on this?

When I attended the Leading Edge program, I would have said that Jewish leadership will evolve into a more open-tent environment where leaders of all denominations and movements work together for a similar mission. Now, I am not sure how or what that would look like, but I do think it's important that Jewish leaders use their voices so that others don't speak for our community. 

So much of our work happens over email, and yet no work is accomplished over email. The Leading Edge program helped [Jason Plotkin, Executive Director] and me to set up a system away from email where we can work effectively together. And that doesn't mean we always meet in person, either. Communication systems where you can have difficult conversations and be honest are important to accomplish mission goals. 

Quote by Mackenzie Marcus, "Kindness, and not just niceness, but knowing how to be honest and direct about what your community and organization is experiencing. This honesty allows others to learn and grow alongside you."

How has something you learned in the Leading Edge program helped make a real difference at your organization? Share an example.

We have a succession plan! And we're sharing insights with our incoming board chair who has already improved our workflow from a list of tasks/report outs to collaboration, discussion and engagement. Leading Edge reinvigorated what we already had.

How have your Leading Edge cohort connections helped you build stronger professional relationships and collaborations within the sector?

I am a young leader and had previously relied on my “good people skills” to make decisions. Leading Edge and the individual coaching gave me the skills to be more pragmatic about my leadership style and how to move forward productively, not just in collaboration. 

Which initiatives or projects have you undertaken in your current role that have been inspired or influenced by participating in your Leading Edge leadership program?

I feel more confident in my board chair role and more comfortable managing people in my professional life. 

What’s one piece of advice you would offer to someone who is considering joining a Leading Edge leadership program?

DO IT. You'll notice their bits of wisdom stick with you. 

  • Are you an alum of one of Leading Edge's leadership programs and wish to be featured?

    Contact Us

Stay Connected

Get occasional updates on resources, programs, and the latest news on culture and leadership in the Jewish nonprofit sector.


Contact Us

©2024 Leading EdgePrivacy Policy
Built by Ronik