See how this Leadership Cincinnati grad is furthering her career and legacy through a powerful program for local professionals.
Leadership Cincinnati is all about building community and Sarah Weiss, CEO of The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center at Union Terminal, wants to build a community that ensures the lessons of the Holocaust inspire action.
“I oversee a staff of about 15 who carry out our mission through education, programming, museum experiences, and other initiatives,” she explains. “As a small organization, I get to be involved in many facets of the organization.”
Weiss says the path that got her to where she is today is part luck and part hard work.
“From the time I was young, I was surrounded by people who worked hard toward a mission and it rubbed off,” says Weiss. “After graduating with a business degree from the University of Cincinnati, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the community and was seeking a path into the non-profit community.”
Weiss originally got her start through Public Allies, where she was eventually connected with the Holocaust & Humanity Center.
“That was almost 15 years ago and I was immediately inspired by the work and the mission,” says Weiss.
She first joined the staff there as a program manager and when the founding director left a few years after she started, the board asked her to serve as the interim director.
“At 25, I thought I was too young,” she says. “At the time I told them I could run the organization but didn’t need the title. They insisted and were right.”
Following a year of guidance, mentorship, and hard work, the board selected Weiss as the director.
Nearly 12 years have since gone by and Weiss has grown an organization that is very much dedicated to its mission.
While Weiss enjoys all that she does, she really finds her inspiration in the people at the core of it all – Holocaust survivors.
“Each one of them experienced unimaginable obstacles and loss, but through their resilience and fortitude, they went on to build new lives,” she says. “Their strength and perseverance to rebuild inspires me each and every day and reminds me of the power of the human spirit.”
To bolster her experience, Weiss participated in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Leadership CincinnatiUSA program. In fact, participating in the program has always been something Weiss hoped she would do.
“I love learning and growing, especially when it relates to our city,” says Weiss. “Professionally, I was in the midst of leading our organization through a major change and I thought it would give me new resources and perspectives for managing the transformation.”
Weiss appreciates the program itself, but what she loved the most were the people.
“The relationships and connections made are incredibly powerful,” she says. “I have never been among such a smart, thoughtful, committed group of individuals. While everyone came from different backgrounds, each person brought passion and talent. In addition to the classmates, the people we met through the program are all committed to make our region better. While the program itself creates unique experiences and exposes participants to experiences in the city that you would have otherwise, I learned the most from my classmates.”
Weiss’s journey through the program was about meaningful experiences and meaningful relationships.
“In addition to the many meaningful experiences throughout the program that made a lasting impact on me, the relationships are what fuels uncovering legacies,” she says. “I feel I have a diverse network of individuals in various fields and parts of our community that I can call on for guidance, support, or to make change. The legacy and lasting impact is in the relationships that will continue to offer rewards for years to come.”
Weiss encourages women to participate in the program because women leaders are needed everywhere and it offers women the opportunity to participate in a program that promotes all leaders.
Leadership CincinnatiUSA® is the region’s flagship leadership development program. It is an immersive civic learning experience designed to help participants understand the assets and challenges of the region, elevate their leadership, and further engage in the community. Applications for Class 43 are due May 24, 2019. More info at www.cincinnatichamber.com/