The Diller Effect: Becoming a Leader in Just a Few Years
Posted on 05/20/2022 @ 08:00 AM
Meet Cecilia "Ceci" Edelberg, a Diller Teen Miami alum whose experience as a Diller Teen Fellow transformed her life and continues to guide her leadership journey.
Ceci grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved with her family to Miami, not long ago. When she arrived, she spoke no English.
Soon after, she heard about Diller and a few short years later applied and was accepted. Diller changed her life—giving her the skills and confidence to activate her leadership potential.
By the close of high school, Ceci graduated at the top of her class from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, had been elected Student Body President, served as the President of Model UN, and was chosen as the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper!
As an alum of Diller Miami’s Cohort 6, she volunteered at Maccabi Tza’ir (a Jewish youth group) where she served as a counselor for three years, as a counselor in the school for future counselors, and as a member of the executive board.
Ceci is currently a rising sophomore at the University of Florida (UF), studying public relations with a concentration in Latin American studies. On campus, Ceci is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority and serves as her chapter’s DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Programming Chair.
She has a number of additional leadership roles including Assistant Managing Director of UF Alpha Productions, Florida’s largest student-run public relations firm, Director of Public Relations of the Hispanic Student Association, Director of Leaders of Change, a freshman leadership program through UF Hillel, and Vice Chair of Communications of Chomp the Vote, a student government agency that aims to increase civic engagement.
We sat down with Ceci so she could share her thoughts on the program.
Ceci, what does it mean to you to be a leader?
“My definition of leadership prioritizes kindness and empathy. I believe that the best leaders are people who act as mentors and are able to help develop new leaders and the growth of others. A good leader knows and understands that they are not the smartest or the most important person in the room and are driven to guide others with compassion, empathy and understanding.
What did you gain from your Diller Teen Fellows experience?
Though the list could go on and on, there are two monumental things that I gained from Diller.
The first is an unbelievable community. I have friends that I made through Diller all over the world and we can connect like no time has passed, even if years have gone by. I have not had an experience in any other Jewish organization like the one I had as a Diller Teen Fellow. I am able to connect to old friends and new people that participated in my year or others because of our strong common thread.
The second thing I gained from Diller was a result of the individualization of the Diller Fellowship. All of the other Fellows in my Cohort were excellent. Everyone held leadership positions, were active participants in their communities, good students, and so forth. We received not much more than positive affirmation in all the other spaces that we were in.
My time in Diller was the first time that I received genuine and constructive feedback from staff and from my peers that increased my self-awareness and allowed me to really grow. As a Diller Teen Fellow, I learned a lot of things hands-on, like the importance of listening to others, how to give and receive feedback, and how to cope with challenges and persist through frustration.
And I got to learn all these lessons in 10th grade. I do not know who I would be today if I had not had that experience.
How did your Diller Fellowship year impact what you’re doing and where are you are now?
Diller gave me the confidence to explore all of the opportunities available to me and to decide how, when and where I can best use my time, energy and skills to maximize my impact. I am able to walk into interviews and articulate my thoughts and ideas eloquently and address my shortcomings or opportunities for growth.
There are about 15 Diller alumni on the University of Florida campus from Miami, including my sorority President, and the sense of connection and community we have is very special. We have been able to create a real Jewish home on campus with an incredible foundation built on our lasting connection with Israel, our relationships with the cohort in Yerucham and our shared experience of the Diller Teen Fellows program.
I am extremely grateful for my experience as a Diller Teen Fellow, and I know that it will stay with me for my whole life.
Don’t miss your chance to have a transformative year! Applications for Diller Teen Fellows are open through Tuesday, May 31.
Visit dillermiami.org for eligibility information and to learn more.