Donors to Federation are key stakeholders in the work we do. As members of the community that we endeavor to serve, and as those that enable us to provide life-saving and continuity-ensuring services for our collective future, our donors are also “OWNERS” of Federation. We consistently call this organization “Your Federation." It is and should be. As such, you are entitled to a level of transparency that ensures you are comfortable with the direction and performance of Federation.
In the spirit of transparency, I want to update you on a change about which you may or may not be aware: the search for a new Chief Executive Officer. For a sense of context, the search process for a CEO six years ago consisted of a search committee and two telephone calls, certainly a record for fewest meetings in the history of organized Jewish communal activity! The reason for the brevity of that process was the obvious choice – someone who knew our community, was familiar with our Federation, and was instrumental in the development of a new direction for the organization – Michael Sonduck. Together with Theresa Dupuis as my co-chair (actually, I was hers), the community unanimously recommended, and the Board hired Michael to continue the work he facilitated as second-in-command. Upon renewal of his contract in December 2016, Michael expressed his intent to “retire” upon its conclusion. Well, that day is upon us soon enough. As of June 30, Michael will be stepping down as CEO of Jewish Federation of San Diego County.
My intent today is not to prematurely express our community’s deep gratitude for his leadership during an incredibly challenging time. He’s got more work to do. Today is simply to inform our ownership – you - of what Federation is doing to ensure that we continue to provide the professional leadership critical to our future.
Having been involved in prior searches, I admit that I was skeptical about the potential pool of Jewish communal leaders. Having witnessed the recent new hires in our sister organizations (all superstars!) and the crop of prospects we interviewed, my presentiments were proven dramatically inaccurate.
I am thrilled to report that the search committee of community super heroes (chaired by lead-hero Ken Polin) has identified several finalists who will be visiting San Diego soon. Our intent is to identify the leader amongst leaders that we will recommend to the Board of Directors as the finest choice to shepherd our community into a new era, taking the foundation that Michael helped us establish and furthering a model for communities across the country to follow.
Stay tuned for more information as this process develops. It is incumbent upon me and our Board to ensure that the community ownership is well-informed about what we do and who is doing it.