Update from Mike Siegel

I would like to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year! 2023 will be an exciting time for the Jewish Federation of Omaha as we welcome our new CEO, Bob Goldberg. You may have seen Bob on campus recently as he prepares for his first official day on January 16th. Phil and I have been working “behind the scenes” with Bob over the last few months so he can hit the ground running. I have been very impressed with Bob’s knowledge and energy. I can’t wait for you to experience the wonderful ideas he will bring to our community.

Just over a year ago, the JFO Board decided to split the Interim CEO role between three people while searching for a permanent CEO. The Board’s appointment of Phil Malcom, Jan Goldstein and Marty Ricks to fill these roles was one of the best decisions the Board has made. All three of these leaders have exceeded my expectations and I can’t thank them enough for their dedication to our organization.

Phil has been an outstanding leader on our campus. From the beginning, he understood the importance of having a strong leadership team behind him. Over the last year, Phil has strengthened the leadership team by having weekly team discussions about the strategic plan and campus issues. He set objectives so the leadership team could evaluate their success and built a spirit of common purpose among them. Our leadership team is a more cohesive and effective group as a result. Phil also navigated the transition of the ADL/CRC to the JCRC. He listened to community members, staff, and the ADL to formulate the best method for our community to establish the JCRC, headed by Sharon Brodkey. While Phil’s leadership skills are impressive, his demeanor has taught me the most. During this period of transition, I have watched Phil handle difficult decisions with a calm, informed and conscientious approach. He is always prepared to discuss the issue at hand and offer thoughtful solutions. Phil has made improvements to our Federation and is handing it over to Bob in a strong position. We are fortunate that Phil will continue to be a leader on campus.

Jan Goldstein has truly been a blessing for the Federation. As a valued community member and a past Executive Director, Jan wholeheartedly took on the role as a programming and campaign consultant to our Philanthropy and Engagement department. She inspired and supported the team to establish new, relevant programming for our community. One of my favorites was the men’s Cars, Conversation and Cocktails event held at Bentley and Barnato. Jan helped organize and promote a mission to Israel with the goal of inspiring our community members who have never been to Israel to make the trip. I am pleased to say that over 25 community members will be going to Israel in March, including a visit to our partnership region. Jan brought institutional knowledge to help guide the JFO through many decisions. Knowing the history of our community was an invaluable asset and helped the leadership team make some difficult decisions. Personally, Jan helped me better understand my role and how to be an effective leader. I am grateful for the time I have spent with Jan during this transition.

When I first spoke to Marty about filling this interim role, his response was, “When do I start?” Marty has contributed to our Philanthropy and Engagement department immensely. With the retirement of our accomplished team of Steve Levinger and Louri Sullivan, the Board realized it would take some time for our new development team to establish themselves in our community. Marty coming on board as a fundraising consultant allowed the progression of the team to get a tremendous jumpstart. He worked with Jenn Tompkins and Rachel Ring to establish best practices, make donor introductions, and help them achieve their goals for the year. Marty’s endorsement of the new team gave our community members confidence in this change. I can’t thank Marty enough for the confidence and support he provided throughout 2022.

With Bob coming on board soon, along with the amazing staff we already have in place, 2023 is going to be a fantastic year for the Jewish Federation of Omaha. This is possible as a result of the Board’s decision to fill the Interim CEO position with three capable individuals. Not only was the approach effective, the people who accepted the challenge made it a productive success. Phil, Jan and Marty have helped the JFO grow and mature into a better, more effective organization for our community. Please join me in thanking all three of them.

Shabbat Shalom,

Mike Siegel
JFO President