The Next Normal: An Interview with Jill Eisenhard

The Next Normal: Jill

In this episode, we speak with Jill Eisenhard, founder and former Executive Director of the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn. Since its beginning in 2002, the RHI has worked to create social change and overcome systemic inequities by empowering youth.

Since stepping down as Executive Director of the RHI, Jill has been reflecting on the role. It is a role that requires you to be 100% dedicated 100% of the time, often having to perform in areas that aren’t your strengths. What if it wasn’t? What if we could fundamentally change the structure of the role going forward to make it more inclusive and more collaborative?

Listen in as Jill explores creating a more expansive type of leadership, making it sustainable for those that want to step into leadership roles, and the baby steps towards equity that we are seeing.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

· [4:09] Jill’s perspective on the next normal and what it will look like.

· [7:06] How the changes in thinking around physical spaces will impact the work that RHI does.

· [11:30] What shifts can happen for Executive Directors and their role?

· [15:23] How stepping out of an Executive Director ole has shaped Jill’s perspective on the position.

· [18:30] Understanding the structural flaws of the role of Executive Director.

· [22:10] The necessity of having broader conversations about the structural deficiencies of leadership when passing the torch.

· [26:55] What should leaders bring to the next normal?

Key quotes:

· “People … no matter what their industry or age or stage of life, are recognizing that this is a moment, a marker for change.’

· “One big shift that I’m predicting that we’ll see is people realizing that you can be a productive worker and a member of a team and not have to physically be in the same space 9-5, Monday to Friday.”

· “I think in some ways it has strengthened community-based organizations because people are more focused and staying closer to home.”

· “I would really love, in the next normal, to be able to think about how can people grow in seniority and in job title and in pay, and stay close and connected to the thing they are really good at and how can there be more space for that.”

· “I would really love to see more organizations and institutions exploring the model of co-Executive Directors.”

· “I think having that space and distance and watching someone else very closely stepping into that and realizing that it was a lot more than it was advertised to me … I just have been thinking a lot about sustainability.”

· “I think that in the nonprofit sector it’s not at all uncommon for Executive Directors to just have the mindset of I just have to find a way to do this and it matters. The consequence of not finding a way is telling someone who really needs something that they can’t have it.”

Resources Mentioned:

· The Red Hook Initiative