Posted by Robin Kahn

This past Friday Rimma Zelfand, JF&CS CEO, and I attended the Top 100 Women-Led Business breakfast at the Seaport Boston Hotel. The event was sponsored by the Commonwealth Institute and the Boston Globe Magazine and honored women who lead diverse organizations from Boston hospitals to social service agencies.

The event was inspiring in a variety of ways. First, Rimma and JF&CS were honored as #32 on the list based on our size, number of employees, diversity, and commitment to innovation. What better time than during the JF&CS 150th anniversary to be honored as a top women-led organization? As our 150th messaging conveys, JF&CS changes with the times but our singular mission – to improve people’s lives – remains the same. Kudos to Rimma and JF&CS on this terrific award!

I felt energized being surrounded by so many accomplished women. During a panel discussion with several women CEOs, I gained some memorable insights.

  • Innovation is NOT about introducing a new idea but rather problem solving. And, innovation may mean adapting existing products rather than introducing new ones (think suitcases on wheels).
  • Given it takes resources and talent to innovate, it’s important to pursue innovative ideas that closely align with an organization’s mission.
  • When it comes to hiring, hire people you admire (rather than admire you) and have a vision on the superstar quality a person can bring to his/her job.
  • Mentors can be important for learning and growth. Women should seek mentors and ask to take on projects with women who inspire.

I left the breakfast with a new kick in my step. Women are making progress in the workforce, and I am lucky to be a part of an organization that is part of this trend.

Robin Kahn is the Senior Vice President of Marketing. She is thrilled to work for an organization that has such a profound impact in the community, and she especially enjoys working at the intersection of marketing and business strategy. Prior to joining JF&CS, she spent twenty years helping companies such as Fidelity, Accenture, and IBM improve their customer focus. Robin holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia Business School.