WTMJ Conversations: Mark Shapiro – WTMJ – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-12-05 13:25:22 –

The pandemic has had a major impact on almost every company or organization.

How did the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee come to mind, and what did they learn? And what about the future of your organization?

President and CEO Mark Shapiro joins WTMJ’s Libby Collins in this week’s WTMJ Conversation episode.

Listen with the above player.

Part of the conversation was transcribed with the following courtesy eCourt Reporters, Inc..

Libby Collins: So what is the future? Hopefully after the pandemic, this is nearing the end. What is the future of JCC?

Mark Shapiro: Well, I’ve always said that one of the reasons I’m happy to be the CEO of JCC is that even if I make a mistake, JCC has been around since I came here. The community never forgives this beautiful thing they have built. I’m honored to be able to take care of you for the last 17 years, preferably for years, but it never disappears. The community, it’s their property, and they never let it go. That does not mean that we are enthusiastic about what we are doing.

What do you think the future is? I think I have to stop saying the words that are about to return to normal. I hear it too often.

First, I don’t want to go back. Our job is to move forward, which is always the case.

Second, we don’t know exactly if we were normal before the pandemic began. If we really stop and remember what the world was like in January and February 2019, we don’t know if the words we normally use to describe it are correct. And I’m not even talking politically. I think the world was more disruptive, if not more, than what the pandemic did. That’s not the usual we’re looking for.

So, at JCC, the business model is stable to some extent, and we are moving on to the next thing: to visualize the new reality after the pandemic. And we will realize it.

In some cases, our business model may shrink slightly. I have to say that this staffing problem, which seems to be shocking to everyone, has been predicted for quite some time. The baby-boomer generation retired about three or four years earlier than expected, but it’s somehow down the pike and won’t disappear. I learned that it didn’t happen when the federal government stopped paying unemployment and everyone kept thinking that everyone would return to work. Those who are considering staffing challenges are not completely surprised by us. I didn’t think it was this bad, but we knew we were on this path. I don’t know the exact number, but at least one million people across the country aren’t going back to work because they realize they’re going back to work. Paying for childcare costs more than just staying at home, and because one of them isn’t working, they have an easier lifestyle. So you are looking at a huge population that has not returned to work.

So if you can’t find staff, all our business needs to start thinking about what we’re trying to do. So what creates a truly sustainable future may not be due to growth, but to a slight contraction to calm and grow into a new reality.

And that will be one of the things J is paying attention to. We’re not saying we’re stopping the program, but we all need to be prepared for that idea. Our board of directors adopted three agenda items that the JCC will focus on for at least next year or two at a major retreat in September. We do the same as we did, the culture of philanthropy, how we treat people who are philanthropic to JCC, innovating our services. ..

In the world of fitness, some of these have changed quite dramatically and we need to think about where to fit into the future of fitness and wellness. We have a great partnership with Froed Tart and the Medical College. I think it is an innovative idea that we are paying close attention to in order to develop a sense of overall wellness. We are a trusted provider of medical services to our communities. People who come to J trust us in part of their fitness and wellness journey, and partnering with perhaps one of the most reputable names in the health care world is a huge breakthrough opportunity for us. ..

And the third agenda is to inspire justice and equality. I don’t know this. No one will be surprised to hear how DEI has affected our world and our communities. And the JCC is very devoted to justice and impartiality, not just talking about distributing food in the food pantry. In that one case, you’re solving hunger. We haven’t even solved hunger. By the way, we are only solving hunger. Resolving hunger is breaking the vicious cycle of poverty.

In short, J focuses on three things: inspiring justice and equity, innovating the services we provide for community members, and investing in a new future.

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