Meet a Member: Joan Yenawine of Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Joan Yenawine, Associate Creative Director with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). Reconnecting recently, Joan opened up about some exciting new changes involving her team and how they’re leveraging the IHAF community to advance even further.

One development that’s bolstered Joan’s group of late is their new workspace. “As part of our recent building renovation, CJP designed space specifically for the Creative Team,” she explained. “It’s not part of the interoffice scheduling system, so it’s always available for impromptu collaboration. Plus, we can safely leave work-in-progress or scribbles up on our IdeaPaint wall.”

Joan’s team also welcomed two new hires recently, a move that reinforces CJP’s commitment to the in-house model. “We added two new writers who are everything we hoped they would be—curious, energetic and collaborative,” said Joan. “Filling two positions near simultaneously reminded me of the importance of having a strong professional network. That’s why I’m always open to informational interviews or grabbing a cup of coffee with other IHAF members.”

Having been an active part of IHAF for over four years, Joan touched on how she and her team have benefited. “We’re lucky to have an organization like IHAF that offers opportunities for in-house professionals to tap into various other companies.” Having attended the 2018 IHAF Conference & Awards Show, Joan remarked that she brought a lot back to her team. “The panel from Discovery was amazing—shockingly honest with great insights. And I’ll never look at an avocado the same way again!” (Referencing the keynote session featuring Alvaro Luque of Avocados from Mexico.)

Despite a bright future, Joan also spoke candidly of past bumps in the road including long-time president, Barry Shrage, stepping down earlier this year. “Barry was CJP’s universally admired president of over 30 years. How do you adequately honor and thank someone like that?” Her team responded by coordinating and producing branded materials for two large-scale events including several videos, a tribute book and support for fundraising. “It was a labor of love that everyone wanted to participate in,” said Joan.

With such teamwork in action, I couldn’t help but ask Joan about her leadership style and inspiration day to day. She responded with a story about her first job as an animal caregiver at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the emotionally challenging work she did while she was there. “I was lucky enough to be guided by exceptionally talented, thoughtful managers,” beamed Joan. “And, I’ve tried to follow their example of leadership throughout my career.”

Thank you for your continued contribution and support, Joan. We can’t wait to hear what your team does next! Do you have a tale to tell about your in-house agency? Get in touch. We’re always interested in hearing from the people and personalities that comprise our extraordinary community of members.

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