If there is one word that defines our work at JCRC, it is “partnership.”
We partner as professional and volunteer leaders, with our member agencies, and with our interfaith, community and government partners. We seek out and nurture these partnerships in the knowledge that the complex and critical tasks we face are achievable only when we work closely, and in concert with each other. But as intimately as we work with our leadership, the partnerships that occupy the most present part of our work days at JCRC are the ones with the other professionals in our office.
Almost five years ago, as I was just getting the lay of the land here at JCRC, two members of the staff team excited me with their commitment and enthusiasm, their willingness to take us in new directions, and their ideas for where we might go. I asked Elana Margolis –then our Director of Government Affairs – and Nahma Nadich – then Director of Social Justice programs – to be my partners in this work. Together, as our two newly minted Associate Directors, they became partners – to me and to each other - in the work in every way. We set out to build a vision for our future and to recruit the team we needed to get there. They shaped our public voice and our sense of purpose, even when that voice was given my face.
It is with mixed emotions that I must come to terms with the reality that, five years later, next Thursday, November 3rd, will be Elana’s last day at JCRC.
In our time together Elana has led the expansion of our advocacy efforts and has brought her passion and vision to our disability agenda including workforce development and funding for special education, and our work on affordable housing and homelessness prevention. As much as anyone, it was her vision, and strategy, that allowed us to re-establish our study tours for public officials – whereby we have now taken one-fourth of the Massachusetts legislature to Israel in the past four years. She led us in re-orienting our commitment to our own financial security and to thinking about all our events and activities as opportunities to tell our story and engage donors as partners in building our future. She has been a source of energy and spirit in our office, filling the halls with laughter and our team with a sense of compassion and caring.
She came to serve our community eight years ago after distinguished service in the Romney and Patrick administrations. And even as Elana spread her wings beyond our lobbying work these past years, she never lost sight of going back to that work someday; And now she is leaving us to be Senior Director of State Government and Regulatory Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
I know I speak for Nahma and all of our team in saying that in her time here Elana has been a deeply valued partner who will be sorely missed by all. We – and JCRC – have been so richly blessed by her countless contributions. We wish our dear friend all the best as she sets out on this new journey.