Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute

"All great leaders start somewhere and for those living in the Tampa Bay area, they can start with the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute. The program's main thrust is developing and mentoring young adults to become the Jewish community leaders of tomorrow." - Jonathan Ellis, Past President of the Tampa JCCs & Federation.

About the Hope Cohen Barnett Jewish Leadership Training Institute


Are you a young Jewish adult ages 25-40 with a passion for making a difference? Want to take a leadership role in making the Jewish community stronger? Experience the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Training Institute (HCBLI).


The Tampa Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties invite emerging young leaders from the Tampa Bay area to participate in this innovative, eleven-program, leadership development experience. Now in its 14th year, HCBLI is designed to inspire young professionals to get involved and take on leadership roles in the Tampa Bay Jewish community. Throughout the years, graduates have held leadership positions on boards and committees of local Jewish organizations and agencies on both sides of the Bay.


The cost to participate in HCBLI is $99, which includes course materials and dinner during each session.  


The application process for 2018-2019 has now concluded, and this year’s program will run October 2018-February 2019. For more information about applying for HBCLI in 2019-2010, please contact Lisa Robbins (Tampa Jewish Federation) at 813.769.4723 or email lisa.robbins@jewishtampa.com , or Emilie Socash (Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties) at 727.530.3223 or email esocash@jewishpinellas.org

This year’s HCBLI 2018-2019 Class: (Front Row) Dor Haim, Emily Fregger, Jennifer Feld, Lennie Friedman, Jordyn Schwersky, Honor Rodgers, Sara Gans, Jennifer Scher, Jarrod Bray and Bryan Glazer. (Back Row) Andrea Cohen, Danielle Halevi, Kory Blair, Diana Lott, Zach Godfrey, Lauren Dunayer, Scot Seplowe, David Steinberg, Mark Finkelstein, Josef Rosen, Ilana Goldenberg, Daniel Fleischbein and Ella Shenhav. Not pictured: Arda Goker and Dana Leorda.

The Legacy of Hope Cohen Barnett


In January 2019, the Tampa JCCs & Federation announced the creation of the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute funded by community member Leslie J. Barnett in honor and memory of his beloved wife and mother of his children, Hope Cohen Barnett (z”l).


An endowment fund has been created at the TOP Jewish Foundation to support, in perpetuity, this prestigious program that is an outgrowth of the previously named Jewish Leadership Training Institute.


Hope, who passed away in June 2018, was truly a force of nature and a devoted member of the Tampa Jewish community, serving as the first and youngest woman president of the Tampa Jewish Federation in 1980 at the age of 30. She rose through the ranks by serving on many committees and holding leadership positions, including campaign chair, board secretary and Tampa’s representative to the National Women’s board of the North American Federation system. Her active leadership inspired the founding of the “Hope Cohen Barnett Young Leadership Award” in 1983, an honor that recognizes and supports an outstanding young leader in the Jewish community annually. She also served on the boards of the Tampa Jewish Community Center (before it merged with the Federation), her synagogue, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and the State of Israel Bonds Young Leadership Committee. In 2008, Barnett received the Jewish Federations of North America’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Lion of Judah Award for outstanding communal leadership.


In 1995, Hope was quoted as saying, “Being Jewish is fun. We laugh, sing, dance, and even in our period of mourning, the object is to offer comfort. We need our young people to feel the positive force that surrounds them and involves them, enriches their lives and commits them to carry out our legacy.”

“A critical piece of HBCLI is that it introduced me to key leaders in the community, people who have been at the table a long time and gave me some insight into how decisions are made. It’s enabled me to create relationships with successful people who have been willing to be a sounding board as I’ve gotten more deeply involved and invested in the community.”

– Joe Probasco (2007 HBCLI Graduate)

“HCBLI helped make Federation more tangible. I gained more exposure to the community and better understood how Federation helps and supports people in here in Tampa and around the world. I was also connected to other like-minded people who want to heal the world. Everyone who participates has the passion, drive and will to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place.”

– Carlyn Neuman (2007 HCBLI Graduate)

“It was very meaningful to lead an organization that has a goal of caring for and enhancing the lives of the elderly, which is one of the biggest mitzvahs we can do. HCBLI introduced me to the variety of local Jewish organization and sparked my passion for Jewish involvement.”

– Aaron Silberman (2009-2010 HBCLI Graduate)


 “I felt it was my duty to give back to the Jewish community and bring a fresh approach to the local Jewish boards. We were encouraged to get involved and take the bull by the horns.”

– David Delrahim (2011-2012 HBCLI Graduate)


 “HCBLI gave me a broad picture and greater understanding of Jewish activity in the Tampa Bay area. As a new member of the Tampa Jewish Federation Board, having learned about the various organizations through HCBLI has certainly helped me understand their different functions and roles in our community. HBCLI laid a foundation for me to grow within the Jewish community and my interest and involvement in the community has grown exponentially each year.”

– Ashley Simon (2013-2014 HBCLI Graduate)


 “After the first meeting, where I mostly sat in observation learning the dynamic of the group, I remember one of my fellow board members telling me, politely, that I should speak up more next time because I represented the young demographic and they were interested in my opinion. I realized that at the time, being the youngest person on the board, I was now empowered to really help steer the Brotherhood in a direction that would appeal to not just the older generation that had traditionally been the makeup of the group, but also to my generation.”

– Kip Goulder (2013-2014 HCBLI Graduate)


For more information about HCBLI, please contact Lisa Robbins (Tampa Jewish Federation) at 813.769.4723 or email lisa.robbins@jewishtampa.com, or Emilie Socash (Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties) at 727.530.3223 or email esocash@jewishpinellas.org