This past June marked the end of Leslie Sholl Jaffe’s 18-year tenure at Rockwood, and her high caliber and loving presence in the training room will be deeply missed.
As one of Rockwood’s first three trainers, Leslie helped shape the organization’s growth from humble beginnings in co-founder Andre Caruthers’ living room to a network of over 7,000 leaders across the globe. She co-created the Advanced Art of Leadership curriculum, co-developed Rockwood’s renowned fellowship cohort training model, and co-led the National Leading From the Inside Out Yearlong after Robert Gass shifted out of that role. Over the last few years, Leslie has led Rockwood’s partnership with UJA-Federation of New York’s Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership.
One of Leslie’s most well-known contributions is POP—aka, Purpose, Outcomes, Process—a simple yet powerful tool for focusing actions on creating results. Created with her colleague Randall Alford, POP has gone far beyond the Rockwood network, and has proven to be one of the top-rated and most-utilized modules from the Art of Leadership.
To honor Leslie’s 18+ years as a Rockwood trainer, we reached out to the alums, staff, and fellow trainers to share how she has had an impact on their lives and leadership:
- “When I was creating the original Art of Leadership, Leslie was one of the very first people I approached to help lead the trainings. Having previously worked with Leslie for over a decade, I knew her to be one of the most accomplished trainers I had ever met. Leslie’s contributions as a trainer, designer, and team member were an important part of growing Rockwood to what it is today.” ~ Robert Gass, co-founder, Rockwood Leadership Institute
- “Thanks to Leslie for her work. She engineered some of our most popular tools and I share with so many others a deep gratitude to Leslie for her contributions to Rockwood.” ~ Darlene Nipper, CEO
- “Leslie has the uncanny ability to see through anyone’s outer shell to what really matters on the inside. She is a bright spot on any kind of day.” ~ Lee Levin, UJA-Federation of New York, Ruskay Fellowship (Cohort 3)
- “18 corresponds with life… ‘L’Chaim!’ You have devoted 18+ years to Rockwood training—plus many more years elsewhere—helping people grow. With your classic warmth, wisdom, authenticity, and humor, you share yourself. You care about individual souls in the room and around the world. To me, you are a marvelous teacher of facilitation offering a magnificent model of how to create space to hold people. Thank you for being trainer extraordinaire to 3 cohorts of Ruskay Fellows and a generous colleague. L’Chaim!” ~ Penina Grossberg
- “Leslie brings her authentic self into the room with grace and humor. She is willing to share her own vulnerabilities and inspired me to do the same. My time with Leslie truly transformed me, and I am a better person because I met her.” ~ Rebecca Katz-White, UJA-Federation of New York
- “Leslie, your presence is so calming, so inspiring. It is clear that you see each individual you work with as a whole person. I so appreciate your pushing me to really visualize my purpose and imagine all of the ways in which I might align myself to that purpose. Because of you, I made a move to a job I feel extraordinarily passionate about and that not only nourishes myself but impacts the larger world. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do!” ~ Jen Vegh, Ruskay Fellow Cohort 2, Director of Community Engagement, Yeshivat Maharat
- “Leslie is an incredible leader—she models compassion, patience, vulnerability, strength, and more—and in doing so, teaches us how to channel our best selves into our own leadership. It was a pleasure to learn with her and Rockwood as part of the Ruskay Institute!” ~ Julia Tejeda, UJA-Federation of New York
- “I met Leslie at a pivotal point in my life, both professionally and personally. And I am a healthier and calmer person because of her mentorship and support. Before Leslie, I struggled with crippling indecision when it came to making decisions about my own happiness and direction. Leslie worked with me to build an approach to decision making that I use to this day, 6 years later. Leslie’s loving, patient spirit was a gift to me 6 years ago. Leslie, I wish you all the best as you open this next chapter of your life. I hope you see all you want to see, experience all the thrills and joys you deserve and savor all the sweetness of life. You are a blessing, Leslie.” ~ Lauren Jacobs, Partnership for Working Families, Executive Director
- “A true friend and a mentor for me in the early days of Rockwood. Brave, bold, compassionate and committed to not just good work but to people’s transformation. Leslie, a true Fe-Mensch (if there is such a thing). Love always.” ~ N Jose Acevedo, New World Consulting
- “Leslie’s encouragement and feedback helped me show up with confidence and authenticity in my work with trainers and participants. Not only a leader and mentor, she’s a fun and cool woman overall, and I’ll always consider myself part of her lineage at Rockwood. I have to say, she was one of the first people who ended work calls with me by saying, ‘I love you!’ So, thank you Leslie! I love you!” ~ Sharon Price, Rockwood Leadership Institute
- “I think of this quote as Leslie’s superpower and her impact on me: ‘Without community, there is no liberation.’ ― Audre Lorde.” ~ Rini Banerjee, President, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
- “I was honored to learn from Leslie. I have often reflected on the profound impact her training had on my leadership. I wish her all the best in the next chapter.” ~ David Loy, ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties
- “Leslie challenged me with love and support and took me on an elevator ride that transformed my life and leadership. I will never forget the experience and the connection I have with you. Thank you Leslie, for everything.” ~ Russell Roybal, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
- “I will always be grateful to Leslie Scholl Jaffe’s leadership and mentoring! Leslie is deeply experienced, passionate about supporting the leadership of others, fierce, kind and incredibly generous. She was one of the first trainers who helped train me when I first joined the Rockwood team, and continues to inspire me with her wholehearted, enthusiastic commitment to helping colleagues and clients alike achieve their fullest potential.” ~ Suzanne Hawkes, Convergence Strategies
- “Leslie is an expert facilitator. In addition to teaching the Rockwood curriculum with humor and heart and deep commitment, Leslie demonstrates leadership in action, and by watching her teach and facilitate, I’ve learned by her example. Leslie’s legacy is a trove of countless organizations and communities led by individuals who aren’t afraid to bring their full, and therefore best, selves into the work. Her personal mentoring during lunch between sessions was particularly valuable and indicative of her leadership approach.” ~ Tsivia Finman, Associate Director, Footsteps
- “Leslie showed me more than she instructed me. She showed me humanity and vulnerability in leadership.” ~ Claire Hoffman
- “Leslie taught me the power of looking deep within and accessing myself in order to be a better leader for others. She modeled for me what it means to be vulnerable, authentic, and honest, and changed the way I think about my day to day work. Leslie, you are a gem and a true example for us all. Thank you for your kindness, your leadership, your wisdom, and your heart.” ~ Andrew Belinfante, JDC Entwine
- “It was clear after just a few minutes with Leslie that she lived and breathed her work. Her love and care for each individual in our cohort was so honest and true. Thank you for giving of yourself Leslie, in order to watch others grow.” ~ Rena Allen, Ruskay Fellow Cohort 2
- “Love and steel. Both shone through when I met Leslie, inspiring me to let my best shine through, too. Thanks Leslie, and enjoy your next adventures!” ~ Nick Martlew, Digital Action
- “I’ve worked with Leslie both as a colleague and as my trainer for the Advanced Art of Leadership. She did a fantastic job of leading our cohort through the Advanced AOL curriculum. And as a Rockwood staff member I’ve seen lots of positive impact that Leslie has had through the various trainings she has led over the years. Wishing you a wonderful retirement, Leslie!” ~ Eileen Hazel, Rockwood Leadership Institute
- “’If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.’ ― Sue Monk Kidd. Glad I asked for your help and so happy you said yes.” ~ John Poore
- “Leslie always showed up with so much compassion! She taught me so much about professional growth and how to be efficient all within a real human authentic framework. Thank you Leslie for making the Entwine family stronger and better!” ~ Naomi Levin, JDC Entwine
- “Thank you Leslie for all the great work you did with Entwine. Please know that the tools and skills you have taught us make my life better each day—especially POP! Wishing that you continue to find meaningful ways to share your gifts with the world in retirement.” Jamie Fleishman, JDC Entwine
- “Leslie, thank you for your many years of commitment, heart, and thought-fullness and the deep investment you’ve made in Rockwood and the thousands of leader’s lives you’ve impacted. You are a gem! We’re wishing you so much love, joy and meaning in this next chapter.” ~ Jodie Tonita, Executive Director, Social Transformation Project
- “I am so glad and grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from Leslie. She taught me many lessons that will stick with me. For example, it’s not work/life balance, it’s just LIFE balance. Thank you, Leslie!!” ~ Jennifer Stern Granowitz, Ruskay/UJA
- “You are the doula that delivered me into Rockwood and helped me grow up along the way! Thank you for your coaching, your partnership and modeling what powerful leadership looks like! You’ve made a difference in so many people’s lives – people who are making a difference in so many more people’s lives and on our planet! I hope you bask in the gratitude and growth that you have supported to cause!” ~ Stacy Kono, Ultimate fan club member of Leslie Sholl Jaffe
- “I did my first Rockwood leadership training with Leslie in 2005. We have a lovely small group of 8 and, at one stage, got snowed in. It was a special experience, but particularly because of Leslie’s leadership, humility and compassionate. Her training had such a profound impact on my understanding of leadership and I will be forever grateful. Thanks Leslie and hope you have a fabulous transition into retirement.” ~ Catherine Fitzpatrick, Greenpeace International
Last, but certainly not least, a quote from Leslie herself:
“Rockwood has been a huge part of my life’s work for many years as well as my own continuous growth and learning… and for this I will always be appreciative. I leave Rockwood with a connection to so many people who are invested in living their lives and leading their organizations courageously and with unconditional love… which is quite a gift and, I think, part of my legacy.”
Thank you, Leslie, and we look forward to seeing how you transform the world next.
Bonus: Leslie’s 6 Practices Playlist. Enjoy!