Our Woman of Impact profile features a local woman who is making a notable impact in our community. For this issue, we spoke with Judy Schlossberg, who currently co-chairs Federation's King David Society alongside her husband, Ron. Judy is a longtime supporter of the Greater Hartford Jewish community, as well as Federation, and has served at the Lion level for nearly 25 years. She has also held many leadership roles, including chair of the Board of Directors, Annual Campaign chair, chair of the Board’s Governance Committee, and three terms as Women's Philanthropy chair. Judy was nominated by Susannah MacNeil, Federation's vice president of marketing and communications.
You've served in many leadership roles in Federation — often repeatedly; what makes you so dedicated to this work?
Because of the work we do together, I get to feel that we're making an impact on people's lives every day. When I served as Women's Philanthropy chair, I was very aware that a primary focus of our fundraising efforts was helping our local community thrive and make the Hartford area a better place to live for all of us. There's nothing more emotionally satisfying than knowing that a person — and often many people — are thriving in part because of your support. I also love helping others get involved in the Jewish community and Federation; it's very rewarding to work with someone one-on-one in finding their path to meaningful volunteer work or to philanthropic giving that speaks to them.
How have you personally benefited from your work with Federation?
I always loved working with an all-women team [in Women's Philanthropy]. As much as I love working with all people, collaborating with like-minded women is especially satisfying. It makes the work that much more fun, knowing that you're working with thousands of other women worldwide who feel the way you do, and value what you value. Laurie Mandell and I hosted many events at all giving levels during my time as chair — and seeing women of all ages come together to support and celebrate each other was such a personal joy, and definitely a highlight of my work with Federation.
Another important part of being Women’s Philanthropy chair is helping the women who participate see how our combined philanthropic efforts allow our community to flourish. That's the most important thing — the collective impact we have in our community, and of course it feels great to see that.
You and your husband, Ron, have worked closely together in supporting Federation and the larger Jewish community. What has it been like to share that journey as a couple?
It's always wonderful to know that the person you love and are dedicated to feels the same way you do about helping others. All I have to say to Ron is, "I just heard about this wonderful opportunity to help someone," and he's going to respond positively. If it's important to me, he'll support it. That has really brought us together; we give as a team.
Looking back on your work with Federation so far, what accomplishments feel the most rewarding?
One of the more memorable experiences I've had was during our trip to Ethiopia, where we helped to relocate Ethiopian Jews to Israel. During our flight from Ethiopia, I turned around in the plane and saw so many children and families who had never experienced many of the comforts that we have — and now we were bringing them to a whole new life. It was an overwhelming sight, honestly. That's one of my favorite memories over the last 25 years.
What would you say to young women who are considering getting involved but haven't yet made the leap?
Right now, one of the hardest things for young women is finding the time. You might be raising small children, or have a challenging job, and it can be hard to find extra time to give more of yourself. But remember that you don't have to serve as board chair or take on a huge responsibility at Federation to get involved. Start by going to an event — maybe volunteer an hour of your time to pack Dignity Grows Totes. You'll walk away feeling so good that next time you'll want to give two hours! The important thing is that no one is going to pressure you. If you say you have an hour, that's all you're expected to do. But do get involved; you'll see how incredible it feels to give back to your community and to people all over the world. There really is nothing better.