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Staff Profile: Brooke Herszage

Staff Profile: Brooke Herszage

Spertus Institute Welcomes Brooke Herszage as Coordinator of Mentoring and Executive Coaching

Brooke Herszage recently joined the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership team in a new position dedicated to a key component of our Center for Jewish Leadership degrees and certificate programs. She will be working with degree students and certificate participants to match them with mentors and executive coaches, who will help them develop professionally and apply their new knowledge and skills to real-world situations.  

Participants in Spertus programs consistently cite the opportunity to work one-on-one with a mentor or coach as one of the most transformative parts of their learning experiences. Spertus President and CEO Dr. Dean P. Bell says, “Spertus has been a leader in mentoring and coaching for the last 12 years. I am thrilled that Brooke has joined us in a role critical to growing our initiatives and fostering Jewish community leadership."

Herszage comes from Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Jewish community there is tight-knit and contributed to the development of Herszage’s strong Jewish identity.

When it came time to choose a university, Herszage was encouraged by her family to leave Scranton and head to a larger city. She attended The Ohio State University and graduated with honors in 2000 with a BA in English. Not completely sated with Columbus, OH, she decided to go even bigger, making the move to Chicago to pursue her MED in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Although Herszage had completed her degrees, she was not quite finished with the classroom. She pivoted from being a student to working in education. "My favorite thing to do is to connect people," said Herszage when asked about the themes of her career. After completing her MED in 2004, she went on to recruit teachers for Chicago Public Schools, lead programs for K.A.M. Isaiah Israel  in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park, and most recently taught religion and Hebrew for Anshe Emet SynagogueHerszage has also taken her skills farther afield. While living abroad in England for three years, she launched a new initiative in the Leeds Jewish Community, connecting Jewish students and young adults to resources, events, and work opportunities. Herszage continues to teach and tutor, and co-coordinates the Chicago Jewish Day School parent committee.

Herszage was inspired to become an educational matchmaker by having had mentors that have impacted her own life and career. She shared one encouraging message from a personal mentor of hers, "He always encourages me to go for it, go big, and to put your full self into everything you do."  

At Spertus, Herszage plans to create networks inside and out of the Institute with mentors, coaches, students, and beyond. She plans to achieve this goal by streamlining the relationship-building process and offer additional opportunities for training. "Having a dedicated mentor enhances the Spertus student experience, contributing to a student’s professional and personal growth," said Herszage. "With a mentor or coach, students have someone in their corner who listens and helps them navigate new opportunities.”

In addition to skills gained in previous positions, as a mother in a lively household (with husband Bruno and four daughters: twelve-year-old Aiva, nine-year-old Liv, and almost five-year-old twins Emme and Chloe), Herszage has learned to be a great listener and communicator. These qualities are essential to her work, matching students with mentors and coaches.

Spertus has been on Herszage's radar since she moved to Chicago. She has been repeatedly drawn to the Institute’s leadership and educational offerings and inspired by our public programming. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the Spertus team. Above all else, Herszage is delighted to bring in her formidable skills, developed as a Jewish professional and lay leader, to our community. She is enthusiastic to grow with Spertus along with the next generation of leaders. Indeed, Brooke Herszage is a perfect match for Spertus Institute. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018