"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.

Experience 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 Florida's Gulf Coast invite emerging young leaders from the Tampa Bay area to participate in this innovative, eleven-program, leadership development experience. Now in its 17th 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.


More than 250 young professionals have graduated from HCBLI, representing a cross-section of the region, both geographically and professionally.


Participation is limited to 18 people. We are hoping to meet in person with strict safety protocols in place. If it is unsafe to do so, classes will meet virtually. Team building experiences will be added to the schedule as we know more about COVID-19. All classes start at 6:30 PM unless noted otherwise.


View a copy of the HCBLI curriculum 2019-2020 here



  • $49 (early bird) per person if you apply by Friday, November 20, 2020.
  • $79 per person thereafter. Includes course materials. Dinner will be served if/when there are in-person meetings.



Final deadline to apply is Friday, December 4, 2020. Applicants will be notified by email about the status of their applications by Friday, December 11, 2020.


The application process for 2021 is now closed.

Please contact Lisa Robbins at lisa.robbins@jewishtampa.com to learn more about applying for a future cohort.



  • January 7, 2021 (Orientation)
  • January 11, 2021
  • January 25, 2021
  • February 8, 2021
  • February 22, 2021
  • March 8, 2021
  • March 22, 2021
  • April 5, 2021
  • April 19, 2021
  • Graduation date TBD



Participants are expected to attend all sessions. By participating in HCBLI, participants are committing to giving a meaningful gift to the Annual Campaign of either the Tampa JCCs & Federation or the Jewish Federation of Florida's Gulf Coast. This gift is in addition to the registration cost for the program.


For more information about the HCBLI please contact Lisa Robbins (Tampa JCCs & Federation - Hillsborough and East Pasco Counties) at 813.769.4723 or email lisa.robbins@jewishtampa.com  or Maxine Kaufman (Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast - Pinellas, West Pasco and Hernando Counties) at 727.333.3106 or email mkaufman@jewishgulfcoast.org.



  • Enjoy an exclusive discussion with philanthropist Bryan Glazer, Co-chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Learn about the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator and Tampa’s innovation ecosystem
  • Develop an understanding of the Tampa Bay Jewish community
  • Experience the important work of our local beneficiary agencies


Topics Include

  • Jewish Community 101
  • Leadership
  • Philanthropy
  • Our Jewish Future
  • Jewish Identity
  • Making a Difference


Click on image to download flyer

The 2019-2020 Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute Class met with executives of the Federations’ local beneficiary agencies as part of the program.

Front row - L-R – Michelle Schlesinger, Jacqueline Wertel, Rachel Sperber, Aaron Binder, Cindy Minetti, Senior Director, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Keeley Haysman, Heidi Shimberg, Executive Director of the Tampa JCCs, Scott Tankel, and Joseph Markowitz. Back Row – L-R - Sandra Braham, CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Lisa Abel, Sarah Feld, Arlyn Stein, Marina Berdnik, Adam Gerber, Brian Overbye, Alissa Myers, Dan and Lina Goldberg.

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 HCBLI Graduate, President of the Tampa JCCs & Federation)

“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, Hillel of the Florida Suncoast Board Member, Weinberg Village Board Member, National Young Leadership Cabinet Member)

“As a board member and past president of Weinberg Village Living Residences, 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 HCBLI Graduate, Weinberg Village Past President and Board Member, Tampa Jewish Federation Board Member)

“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 HCBLI Graduate, Menorah Manor Trustee and Treasurer)


 “HCBLI gave me a broad picture and greater understanding of Jewish activity in the Tampa Bay area. HCBLI 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 HCBLI Graduate, Board Member of the Tampa Jewish Federation)


“HCBLI created an educational and inclusive environment that gave me a greater appreciation for the Jewish community. I really enjoyed the variety of perspectives and diverse opinions from within the group, which helped foster thought-provoking discussions. I also loved our sessions about the federation’s various agencies, the allocations process, fundraising strategies, and opportunities for future involvement.  The program did an exemplary job of integrating Jewish learning with leadership skills, and I graduated with a network of friends and the tools to become a more effective leader in the Jewish community.” – Andrea Cohen (2018-2019 HCBLI Graduate, Volunteer with IMPACT Advisory Committee)