By Sharon Green & Lois Bromberg
Co-chairs, Bank of America Festival of Arts, Books and Culture
I was first introduced to the Bank of America Festival of Arts, Books and Culture about 15 years ago when Mandy Patinkin was a headliner. I loved Mandy Patinkin and was excited about having the opportunity to see him and, if I became a patron, not only would I get to see him, but I could meet him in person. I was hooked and so began my love and commitment to the Festival.
I began as a volunteer and then agreed to become Volunteer co-Chair with Sharon Green, who for the past 2 years has been my co-chair for running this incredible week. This became a labor of love for both of us. Subsequently, we were approached about being the Festival Co-chairs, but I was not yet ready for this daunting task. The thought of getting up in front of an audience and speaking would put me into a tail spin. I am quite content working behind the scenes and remaining anonymous. But as a result of this experience, I have been introduced to books and topics that have enriched my life, met people with incredible stories and others who I have always had such great respect for. It has been a privilege to be a part of such an important and successful event and, hopefully, brought happiness and enrichment to others.
I remember when Lois approached me in the spring of 2010, just as I was planning my retirement after 30+ years of teaching. She asked me if I would be interested in serving as Co-Chair of Volunteers with her for the Festival. This time, I didn’t hesitate to answer “Yes!” I’d always been impressed by the Festival programming, attending programs whenever work permitted. I knew I would love working with Lois, so the decision was easy. I had no idea how much I would love being involved with the Festival, working with JCC staff and other volunteers and meeting such talented and inspiring authors and speakers. From that first year, I was hooked.
Fast forward to 2016 Sharon and I were approached to Co-chair of the entire Festival and the timing was right for both of us. If one was going to do it, so was the other. We are a team – one of us could not function without
the other. We had no idea what the position entailed but were reassured by Sabrina Spector, the JCC Cultural Director and Director of this incredible Festival, that we could do as much or as little as we wanted. Both Sharon and I were in it for the long haul, that is, if we agreed to be Co-chairs, it was all the way.
This is our final year acting as Co-chairs, and I have to say, neither of us are ready to give up this position. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience both of us could have ever hoped for. Thank you to the Katz JCC for allowing us and encouraging us to Co-Chair the Festival. We have come to appreciate all that the JCC does for everyone and have worked with staff who give tirelessly and unselfishly of themselves. We both believe that surrounding yourself with good people makes you a better person, and we have been given a gift by having the honor to work with and be a part of this wonderful organization. We both feel that there is never anything else we can do that will give us the sense of fulfillment that we have experienced in this position.
We can’t wait to see you at the Festival this November 11th through 18th!