Water Cooler

I’ve been enjoying virtual group meetings. They are efficient, effective, convenient, and inexpensive, and we get much accomplished at them. I can meet with extended family, co-workers, committees, local colleagues, national colleagues, and overseas colleagues and, in fact, I could argue that I’ve never been this “in touch” before.
But have I really been “in touch”?
In the office, we connect around the water cooler.
- After board meetings, we connect in the parking lot.
- At conferences, we connect in between sessions or standing in line at the breakfast buffet.
- In Israel, we connect over coffee.
These informal connections are critical components of relationship building and we’ve been missing them for more than two years. Federation has board members who meet every month but do not know each other. We’ve had a new Eshkol partnership director for two years and we’ve never met.
After meeting virtually every month with other Federation executives, I finally attended an in-person gathering this week. A new colleague from Florida said to me in the lunch line, “Hey Rob, I really like your kippah. Where did you get it?”
He was referring to our Federation kippot. “We designed them ourselves; we have them in eight different colors; we give them out at all of our events; very successful swag.” He asked for contact information for our graphic designer and the project details. One minute in line accomplished what two years of virtual meetings could not.
I leave Thursday for Israel to reconnect with old friends and meet with new partners. I’m planning meetings in Eshkol and to check up on several of our community’s investments around the country. I look forward to a lot of coffee.
I’ll report along the way.
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