Creating a Welcoming Space for Everyone to Connect

For some, a sense of purpose comes naturally. Early in their development, they find a calling or a calling finds them. Either way, it’s a marriage grounded in passion, guided by an inner voice that finds harmony and support among a chorus of family and friends, teachers and mentors, neighbors and community. For the rest of us, it takes awhile, a few left turns before the right one comes along.

I’m Jewish. Both my parents were Jewish. My husband is Jewish. And as the new CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, I bring to the position my strong commitment to Jewish values and Jewish life. Through more than 30 years in both the private and public sectors, I’ve learned that how we work together is just as important as, and often the key to, what we accomplish together. Through my experience, including serving in leadership roles on non-profit boards, I’ve come to realize that as often as people want to be heard, they want to be respected. 

I heard somewhere space may be the final frontier. For the Jewish Federation, space is wherever our team shows up to work or worship, whether it’s a Pop-Up Shabbat on Alki Beach or an Israeli-style picnic on Matthews Beach, a Neighborhood Song and Story time in Seward Park, or paving the way for our growing and diverse 30s and 40s population to connect. Our building address has changed; our heart remains the same.

I have made one major move in my life, from the East Coast to the Puget Sound region. My most difficult challenge was finding community that I felt comfortable joining, being myself. That’s why I feel strongly committed to Federation’s mission to create Jewish Connections for Life. A welcoming place should exist for everyone to connect with or celebrate their Jewish identity in their own way.

During my tenure at the Federation, I have learned how important continuity of leadership is to our success. This community is replete with individuals who possess many gifts. Now is the time to come together, support one another, be an example of bridging the gap of differences and divergent practices. In assuming the role as Federation’s President & CEO, I am excited to be a part of our Jewish community and lead our organization as we write the next chapter in our ever-evolving personal journeys.