Holon – Doing things a bit differently!
Posted on December 15, 2012
Seeking to break the boundaries and open new opportunities
My name is Hanna Hertsman and I have been the City manager of Holon for almost 20 years. Throughout the years, I believe, I’ve gained considerable knowledge and experience in public and municipal management. I am pleased to share this knowledge with you.
In the past, we used to believe that “knowledge is power”, and there were directors who believed accumulating knowledge and keeping it to oneself would be beneficial for them, turning them into much more successful managers than their colleagues. Yet today, in the era of the information superhighway we understand that sharing information is the real power, allowing us to renew and constantly improve.
About a couple of years ago I launched my professional blog in Hebrew. In this blog, I write about matters pertaining to public management and municipal sector, and share information with my colleagues and in fact, with anyone interested in thoughts and ideas based on my professional experience.
I believe one can learn a lot from other’s experience, as it allows us to embrace ideas and initiatives, while, of course, adapting them to one’s individual needs. In the past, we used to learn from and share professional experiences mainly in conferences, seminars, professional gatherings and academic publications. Yet today, the old order has passed away and its hierarchies are no longer relevant, so that almost anyone can disseminate information, share and access sources of information, highly-positioned, powerful and influential figures. Of course, geographic borders too have become less relevant, so that directors in Israel, Europe, America and in fact anywhere, to learn from each other’s experience, develop professionally and move forward.
Throughout the years since I took office (back then I was the only female city manager in Israel) we transformed Holon and led dramatic changes. From a dormant commuter town located about ten minutes from Tel Aviv, we turned Holon into Israel’s Children’s City and a hub of culture and the arts. We sought and found our advantages and empowered them. For example, we turned culture and the arts into an integral part of the city’s everyday life, founded Holon’s Story Gardens, which introduce children to Israeli literary classics through the medium of environmental sculptures; we founded the Israeli Children’s Museum and developed programs (“trails”) allowing children (and adults) experience the world of the deaf, the blind and now the elderly. We founded Israel’s only cartoon museum, featuring collections containing the works of Israel’s best cartoonists since its foundation. We established a digital art center of which one of the main goals is to make a positive change and improve the lives of the residents of the community and neighborhood (which is far from being one of the richest in the city). We opened Design Museum Holon and by doing so made an additional, significant step forward, positioning the city of Holon as an international hub of design.
These are, in a nutshell, some of the projects and initiatives we have led during the last several years, turning the city into “something else”. It is no longer “another city”, but rather, a unique place, forming both a cozy home for its residents and a national and international highlight. Today I feel we are ready to expand international-level partnerships, break through the limits and share our activities with you – professionals, investors, public administrators, art and culture enthusiasts – anywhere you are. For this reason I chose to start this blog in English, where I will share information with you, and hope you will find it of interest.
So, if you are interested in our activities, please respond, express your opinion and who knows – perhaps this will lead to new opportunities to all parties.