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Holy Friendship: Rabbi Elan & Rev. Kathi McShane on Igniting Imagination Podcast

Listen in as co-authors of Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership After Empire, Rabbi Elan Babchuck, and Texas Methodist Foundation's Director of Leadership and Innovation, Rev. Kathleen McShane, speak on Igniting Imagination, a podcast presented by Wesleyan Impact Partners.

Rev. Kathi McShane, a retired United Methodist pastor, and Rabbi Elan Babchuck, a millennial, experienced an immediate connection when they met, a spiritual connection that made them fast friends from the beginning. In this episode, they share how their friendship naturally manifested in Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership After Empire. They discuss the vision of the book, moving away from the pyramid model of leadership where power is centered around one person or a group of people and towards a shared power where every person can stretch toward the fullness of their God-given gifts, regardless of where they land on an organizational chart. Their vision of leadership, born of their friendship, shows how holy friendship truly benefits not only those in the friendship but blesses the whole world.

About the Authors

Rev. Kathleen McShane is the director of Leadership and Innovation for Texas Methodist Foundation and Wesleyan Impact Partners. She retired from active ministry as an ordained Elder in the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2022. She led four congregations and served eight years as the vice president for Institutional Advancement at the Pacific School of Religion. Before attending seminary, she was a civil litigator, practicing law in the San Francisco Bay Area. She co-founded the Changemaker Initiative, a small national movement of churches committed to empowering lay people to become compassion-driven changemakers like Jesus.

Rabbi Elan Babchuck is the executive vice president at Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the founding executive director of Glean Network, which partners with Columbia Business School. He is a sought-after thought leader, having delivered keynotes at stages ranging from TEDx to the US Army’s General Officer Convocation, published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Washington Post, and Religion News Service, has a column for The Wisdom Daily, and he contributed to Meaning Making – 8 Values That Drive America’s Newest Generations (2020, St. Mary’s Press). He also serves as a founding partner of Starts With Us, a movement to counteract toxic polarization in America, and a founding research advisory board member of Springtide Research Institute, which focuses on spirituality, mental health, and Gen Z.

Rev. Kathleen McShane and Rabbi Elan Babchuck co-authored Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire (Fortress Press, to be published January 2024). The book offers a provocation to religious leaders to exercise institutional power more generously. It speaks to leaders ready to shift from organizational patterns that demand over-functioning and instead share power so that power multiplies.


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