Leadership on Point

Ezra Schwartz’s Death Should Be a Wake-Up Call for American Political Leadership

November 24, 2015 Jessica Levin - Guest Author

Violence and tragedy are two words that could not escape our vocabulary this week. In the midst of deadly events in France, Beirut, and Mali, there was a tragic terrorist attack in Israel – the death of five individuals, including 18-year-old American student Ezra Schwartz –that was barely acknowledged by political leaders in this country.

All we can think about is Ezra at age nine, Jessica’s rambunctious, outgoing, and carefree camper. The camper who had so much energy, excitement, and passion. As he grew up, he devoted himself to his studies, his family, his friends, and his community, which included summers at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire. His commitment to the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam, translated from Hebrew as “repairing the world,” were evident in his last hour of life, when he was shot on his way to deliver food and care packages to Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Religious persecution, as evident in the case of Ezra and the Israelis who lost their lives last Friday, is ever present. This oppression is not reserved for any particular religious group. Muslims across the world are discriminated against because a percentage of their population are associated with the Haram State and its radical Islamic ideologies. The most recent terrorism across the world has not only revitalized the power of government surveillance and trampled on civil rights, but has catalyzed the rise of religious intolerance in this country. Over half of U.S. governors oppose welcoming Syrian refugees into their states. Some Presidential candidates have urged the U.S. to implement a surveillance system that monitors all Muslims and mosques in this country. What our political institutions fail to recognize is that Syrian refugees are not terrorists. Muslims are not all Islamic extremists. Narrow beliefs make the United States a country filled with religious discrimination, oppression, fear, and hate. We are a country unprepared to manage, accept, respect, and discuss religious diversity.  (more…)

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Is Multi-Tasking Affecting Our Success and Failure at Work?

February 16, 2011 Jessica Levin - Guest Author

The art of multitasking, Richard Levin & Associates, executive coaching, coaches

There aren’t enough hours in the day. We’re constantly on the go, continuously worrying about the tasks we have to accomplish. A mother rushes to get her kids to school while talking on the phone in her car, changing the radio station, and eating a granola bar — all the while trying to focus on the road. A doctor spends five minutes with a patient, entering data into electronic medical records, taking notes, checking his blackberry and beeper for emergency notices, and hurries on to the next patient.

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Could Leadership Save Healthcare?

October 19, 2010 Jessica Levin - Guest Author

I recently read the book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, which describes the life of Paul Farmer, an infectious disease physician, and his organization, Partners in Health. Farmer’s mission was to help individuals living in vulnerable countries access quality health care and preventative services. Through Farmer’s magnificent story, it is evident that one man can change the lives of thousands, even millions, and thus Farmer is an example of a successful leader. But Farmer is just ONE leader. We all know Barack Obama’s powerful tagline: yes we can. Its implications are potent, yet we are still struggling to improve the social and economic disparities of health care.  Those inequalities affect millions.

How does this connect to a blog on leadership? Simple: the most effective way for America to fully commit itself to health care equality is through strong and effective leadership. Health leadership is one of the main components of a successful health campaign. If we are trying to improve the inequities that affect personal health, health campaigns must start by addressing individual health behaviors and teaching people different ways to achieve healthy lifestyles. Clearly, adequate funding is essential for any type of reform, however information and education are extremely useful tools in preventing disease. And this is where we need effective and powerful leadership. What does it take to be an effective health leader?

Written by Jessica Levin, Research Assistant in Health and Epidemiology, Abt Associates, Cambridge, MA

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