Widely recognized as one of the world’s experts on creative and effective engagement strategies and leadership coaching for changemakers, Jeff Bercuvitz leads stimulating workshops, energizing retreats, and provides coaching and consulting for individuals and organizations devoted to working for the greater good.
As the founder and CEO (Creator of Extraordinary Occasions) of The Sparks Center, Jeff works with people and organizations across the globe to equip them with the skills, tools and practices they need to establish the strongest possible personal foundation for effective leadership.
Over the past twenty-five years, Jeff has helped hundreds of organizations and trained and coached more than fifty thousand leaders and other changemakers throughout North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. He has supported people working in a wide range of mission-driven organizations to discover creative, inexpensive and enjoyable ways to make their work more successful, as well as more personally rewarding and sustainable.
Jeff has designed innovative engagement campaigns around the country for cities from the Carolinas to Kalamazoo. He has given more than 500 talks and workshops on effective strategies for: sustainability and social justice, youth involvement, community service, economic development, inclusion of people with disabilities, downtown revitalization, crime prevention, and other facets of community-building, engagement, and leadership development.
The heart of his work is inspiring creativity, passion and action for individuals, organizations and communities. He enables people to consider what more might be possible for them and clarify their visions of success. He then brainstorms with them to craft practical strategies so that they can find ways to realize those visions and increase the reach and impact of their work while thriving in their lives.
Jeff’s “think big, start small, substitute creativity for cash” approach has been widely lauded for its results building bridges across divides of class, race, age and politics. His “Small Sparks” process in particular, developed in partnership with the City of Seattle, has been singled out as one of the country’s best examples as to how to move beyond talking about social capital, to actually help build it.
In addition to his extensive work in cities, Jeff has worked with people in small communities throughout North America and overseas to help them discover ways to simultaneously preserve their environmental health and strengthen their local economy through innovative ventures. Prior to his founding The Sparks Center and the Center For Leadership, Innovation and Community, he served as the president of Community Innovations and as the Executive Director of the Working Land Fund, a Vermont-based not-for-profit organization that integrated sustainable agriculture, land preservation and community economic development. Jeff also served as the Director of the Regeneration Project of Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pennsylvania that pioneered strategies for locally-based sustainable economic development and community-building. For eighteen years Jeff advised the socially responsible banking fund of Chittenden Bank, the largest bank in Vermont.
Jeff has spent part of each of the past twenty years in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania where he coaches people involved in creative social enterprises, guides the “Sparks Dreamers’ Club” and mountain bikes. He spends the balance of his time in Lincoln, Vermont and Ithaca, New York with his wife and eight year old daughter.