Alumni Spotlight: Dana Levinson Steiner

Dana Levinson Steiner

Dana Levinson Steiner

Director of ACESS Global, Global Jewish Advocacy (AJC)
Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) 2010


Dana Levinson Steiner is Director of ACCESS Global at AJC, where she oversees an international program to engage young professionals through transformative leadership development. Previously, Dana served as Manager of Jewish Leadership & Impact at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, where she founded Chutzpanit: from Campus to the C-Suite, a preparatory and mentorship program for Jewish college women that aims to close the workplace and leadership gender gap.

Dana has also been Assistant Director of Reshet Ramah: Alumni & Community Engagement Network; a teaching fellow at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC; and a facilitator for Moving Traditions. Dana holds a B.Ed. in secondary history from McGill University and an M.A. in Jewish experiential education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and is a Ph.D. candidate in Education and Jewish Studies from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU. Committed to advancing women and girls in both the Jewish communal and secular professional space, Dana sits on the board of the Jewish Women's Foundation of New York, is an advisory board member of the Gender Equity in Hiring in the Jewish Community Project, and was a fellow in the OnBoard/NYC Fellowship through the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and the Legacy Heritage Foundation. She lives in New York City with her husband, Ian.


What is your current professional role? What are some of your career highlights?

Dana is the director of Global Access for a global advocacy organization called the American Jewish Committee (AJC) that strives to ensure the safety and security for the Jewish community, as well as inner religious groups and partners around the world. The American Jewish Committee is centrist and nonpartisan that works with all three branches of government in the United States with a special focus on combating anti-semitism, radicalism and extremism, in addition to ensuring the implementation of democratic values. As the director of ACCESS Global, Dana works with young advocates between the ages of 22 and 40 to develop leadership, programing and philanthropy to ensure that they are global advocates. ACCESS Global has 15 chapters globally, and Dana oversees that all young advocates are working to better their communities as well as the communities they work with.

One of the areas that Dana has been working on is racial justice, she believes that the Jewish community has a significant role to play in combating systemic racism. Therefore, she is working with partners in the United States to unveil a six-point plan for combating racism. At the most basic level Dana and her team are calling to convene a national task force on systemic racism, through advocating legislators to pass justice and policing act, which is looking to reform police work. Additionally, they are working towards having both the house and the Senate make lynching a federal crime.

In 2017, Dana founded an organization called Chutzpanit: from Campus to the C-Suite that provides mentorship and leadership development programs for young women. The objective is to help young women navigate their professional environments and address work bias and discrimination. Dana is also proud to be working with Global Jewish Advocacy especially now as the world is going through uncertainty and divide, and to be able to foster advocacy built on mutual respect.


When you were first carving your path, what made you choose McGill, and specifically McGill’s Faculty of Education?

Dana’s desire to explore a new city and experience a different culture led her to choose McGill for her undergraduate degree. She felt that studying education in particular was a way to change the world around her and that education and teaching was the path to move forward. Unlike other universities, she enjoyed the experience of being a student teacher throughout the four years. As a person who is not from Montreal, she especially enjoyed learning about the different communities in Montreal and connecting with different students and teachers that made her university journey much more valuable.


What was the most valuable skill or life lesson that you learned at McGill?

As an international student coming to Montreal, Dana learnt that making connections and building a supportive community can happen in any place. She was able to build long lasting relationships with other McGill students, who are now some of her closest friends and supporters. Dana also believes that she built a global perspective since McGill provided her with such a diverse group of colleagues and friends. Dana also learnt how to be independent and self-sufficient, both valuable skills that any young person need to develop.


How did studying education prepare you for your career?

Dana’s time at McGill had a huge impact on her career, she learned from instructors and other students. Empathy was a guiding theme during Dana’s time at McGill where educating through empathy has become her guiding ethos. Dana tries to employ this concept in her work, and it came from her time and coursework at McGill’s Faculty of Education. During her last year, she understood the value of mentorship and was able to connect with her students in class and learn ways to be thoughtful and empathetic with students who experienced difficulty in their lives.


What advice would you give to someone considering an undergraduate or graduate degree in Education now?

Definitely do it. Being an educator is one of the best things that you can do because it's not self-serving in the sense that you're like, I'm changing kids' lives… If that's what you're going into it with them, you're not going to do it well. But what's amazing about education is that it affords you the opportunity to enter into other people's worlds and to be able to offer them options in terms of how they exercise their own interests and passions”.

Teaching to Dana provides educators with the opportunity to create incredible mentorship relationships and create opportunities for students to find what they care about, what speaks to them and make curriculums come to life. She believes in this world where it's so polarized and we really are sensing such despair and uncertainty being an educator provides a sense of certainty. Dana believes it's an exciting time to be an educator, because you can be part of a process of rewriting how we teach people in a way just that is equitable and truly inclusive.

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