See how Rebecca Fishman Lipsey is making Miami a better place

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey of Radical Partners in Miami. Photograph by Nick Garcia for INDULGE.

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey is an educator, a leader, a visionary, a consultant and a community-builder. See what the founder and CEO of Radical Partners loves about Miami, apartment living and “ridiculous shoes.” This profile appears in the August 2017 issue of Indulge.  

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey’s vitals 

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey
Photograph by Nick Garcia for INDULGE.

36. Founder and CEO of Radical Partners, a startup accelerator and management consulting agency working exclusively with social-impact entrepreneurs. Rebecca Fishman grew up in Fairlawn, New Jersey, the second-oldest of four siblings; mom was a computer programmer, and dad, a lawyer. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in communications and psychology, then she followed her college sweetheart and now-husband, Jay, to Cleveland. They moved to New York, where Rebecca Fishman Lipsey earned a master’s degree in education and taught at a public school in Harlem through Teach for America. She came to Miami as Teach for America’s executive director here in 2008, bringing in more than $22 million in her four-year tenure. In 2013, Governor Rick Scott gave her a seat on the state Board of Education, making her the youngest person appointed to the post. Fishman Lipsey founded Radical Partners in 2012, helping scores of Miami entrepreneurs scale their ventures and engineering some of the most engaging community-wide social initiatives, like Public Transit Day and 100 Great Ideas. The Miami Foundation recently awarded Fishman Lipsey with its Ruth Shack Leadership Award. She and Jay live in Aventura and have two sons: Andrew, 6, and Noah, 3.

Motivated to learn

“I’m the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, so I grew up learning from people who developed a sense of urgency to give back and protect the social infrastructure of their communities. My grandmother instilled in me that you must invest in your education, because you can take that with you.”

Connecting to Communities

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey
Photograph by Nick Garcia for INDULGE.

“In Miami, I began getting together with people to share some of the resources that had supported me and my work. I thought, ‘Instead of me doing this with individuals, what would happen if I brought three executive directors into a room together? Ten executive directors into a room together?’ And that kind of birthed Radical Partners.”

How Radical Partners works

“We look for people in South Florida who have identified an issue and are doing something that is show-stopping, eye-opening and has real promise. Then, over the course of three months, we immerse together. We coach them individually and we coach as a whole group. We focus on pitch practice, fundraising strategy, branding, team growth, time management, executive management skills and long-term vision.”

Investing in the future

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey
Photograph by Nick Garcia for INDULGE.

“I’m investing in finding great leaders while also investing in rallying the masses to learn about the issues that matter. I think a lot of people don’t realize their power and the opportunities they have. I like to engage people and help them find avenues for their voices to be heard.”

Thinking outside the bubble

“With social media today, I feel like I am surrounded by messages that align with my interests and beliefs. More and more, people are being less tolerant of those who are not like them. I thought, ‘What could we do to engage tens of thousands of people in Miami to actively build a relationship across lines of difference?’ So we launched 10 Days of Connection, where we encouraged people of all ages to step outside their comfort zones and learn about someone who is different.”

Best advice ever received

“If you’re not willing to take a gamble on yourself, why should anybody else?”

Something people don’t know about me

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey
Photograph by Nick Garcia for INDULGE.

“After college, I thought what I was going to move to Cleveland and become a wedding singer. I had even lined up my first gig!”

Greatest extravagance

“Shoes! Something stuck with me about the challenge of being feminine in a leadership role, and I decided I need to have a flair. I’m often going to be the only woman in a room, and I’m often going to be in situations where I feel like I need to masculinize in some way in order to be at bat. I decided that my accessory of choice was going to be ridiculous shoes.”

At home

“I’m an apartment gal. I love apartment living. I like the noise and the energy. Once I moved to New York and felt the energy of a city, I fell in love with it. We try to have fun in our space and not take ourselves too seriously.”

In Miami

“It took me a hot second to find my way here. But I’ve seen a massive evolution over the past several years. We have exploded with innovators who are trying to strengthen the city. They are speaking a shared language, and they know each other and support each other.”

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