The St. Paul JCC Board of Directors announced Tuesday its unanimous decision to appoint Michael Waldman as Executive Director. He and his family will be packing up their home in San Antonio and making the northerly trek so that Michael can start his new job on December 6th.
Bringing over 15 years of JCC experience to his new role, Michael most recently served at the VP and Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Community Center of San Antonio where his responsibilities included program development, fiscal management, strategic planning, staff supervision and community relations. He’s a St. Paul native and began his JCC career at the St. Paul ‘J’ in 1995 as a member of the Youth Department staff. TC Jewfolk readers may remember him from his roles as Teen Director, Camp Butwin Director and later as Youth Services Director. And he remembers many of you – (he even remembers Editor in Chief Leora Maccabee’s performance as Coco in a local production of Fame).
“It’s an exciting new phase,” Michael told TC Jewfolk when asked about his new role, “I grew up in St. Paul and at the St. Paul JCC, so this is a chance to come back home both professionally and personally.” Michael and his wife come back to the Midwest as new parents – being close to extended family will certainly also be one of the perks of his new gig.
Since Michael is a young(ish) professional himself, we wanted to know if he had any thoughts on how to keep the JCC relevant to other y-pros. Fully expecting to be told that he needed a few weeks to scope things out, it was great to hear that he believes it’s important for the JCC to grow and change to meet the needs of the community and that “connecting where people want to be” is the way to do that. He’s especially interested in engaging young leaders in the community by providing meaningful volunteer opportunities that will foster long-term relationships. And, he points out, the health and rec facilities are always a draw - for younger and older members alike.
Waldman replaces Dori Denelle who announced earlier this fall that she is joining the staff of the national JCC Association as Vice President – Community Services on November 1st. In her new role, Dori will serve as a community consultant to a group of JCCs. She will remain based in St. Paul. Her 26 years of service at the St. Paul JCC include serving as the J’s executive director for the past 8 years. TC Jewfolk also caught up with Dori on Tuesday night to wish her ‘mazal tov’ on her new job and to find out what she’s most proud of as she looks back on her tenure at the St. Paul JCC. “We have such an incredible community that supports its organizations and institutions. And, it’s been wonderful to work with staff and lay leaders that are so supportive of each other,” she said. Dori is also “excited to see where Michael will lead the St. Paul JCC in the future.” For a great summary of the work she’s done, check out the September issue of Attractions. Dori will be honored during a community farewell open house on October 24 from 1-3pm with a short program at 2pm. The JCC invites all in the community to attend the celebration.
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