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“Setting the Table” For an Executive Director

Those who say you can’t go home again have never been the interim executive director of BJ! I have the pleasure of bookending Colin Weil’s tenure in the permanent role: I was working as BJ’s interim executive director when he was hired in 2016 and am back to help ensure a smooth transition during this search for a permanent executive leader. While there is much that is familiar—scaffolding on 89th Street, youthful tenants in the Community House, warm and wise rabbis and hazzan, dedicated staff across all departments, an engaged board and community members—there is a lot that is new or has changed.

BJ is larger and even more robust now. We are a sizable organization with a significant budget, a campus comprised of beautiful vintage buildings, a full slate of dynamic programs and events, a global community, and, of course, tefillah to guide and support us. The primary role of an interim director is to “set the table” for their successor and this table has many more leaves in it now!

My time back at BJ engages many parts of my extensive career. I began my tenure in philanthropy and the nonprofit field as Vice President & Executive Director of the CBS Foundation. For the past 20+ years I’ve been providing management, communication, and grant-making services to nonprofits, corporations, and foundations. Before that I enjoyed a two-decade leadership career in communications and philanthropy at CBS and worked in management at the legendary Grossinger’s Resort Hotel! Most recently, I served as Assistant Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

I specialize in working with organizations undergoing transitions; I’ve been an interim executive director 13 times. And, while I focus on arts and culture, my clients have also impacted the areas of municipal engagement, education, social justice, advocacy, and professional development. I’ve served on the faculty of New York University, Baruch College, and Hunter College, where I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in arts administration, communications, and public relations. I’m a BJ member and a Ramah Berkshires alum who still has some of my projects from my time as an arts and crafts counselor!

Interim leaders are not candidates for the permanent positions, but we are involved and engaged in the search for the permanent leader, and I embrace that part of my work. BJ’s board has assembled a strong search committee, chaired with thanks by Dana Trobe, and I’m so pleased to work with them on all stages of the process. This is an exciting challenge: the position requires candidates with strong nonprofit management skills, a high level of emotional intelligence, and the wisdom and enthusiasm to be a valued administrative partner to Roly, Felicia, and the Board’s strategic vision. I can’t wait to see who emerges to take the reins.

Working in partnership with BJ Board leadership and in support of the current staff makes my day. Please reach out or look for me at BJ; I’m on the campus most days. It’s wonderful to be in your company in this way once again.