Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Federation announces interim, long-term leadership plans


March 23, 2018

Rhonda Forest

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando recently announced its leadership path for the next two fiscal years (starting Sept. 1, 2018) and confirmed the responsibilities of interim lay and executive leadership that will be in place until that time.

The organization has continued reshaping its priorities in serving the Central Florida Jewish community. Effective March 1, Rhonda Forest stepped down as president of the JFGO Board of Directors to allow her to focus on her service as acting executive director through the end of the current fiscal year on Aug. 31. Forest had been balancing her lay and managerial obligations since last fall, serving as board president while overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Federation. She will now focus solely on the executive role at the Federation in close association with the board of directors.

Current Treasurer Brad Jacobs and Vice President Larry Haber are interim co-presidents of the JFGO board and will lead the board through the end of Federation's current fiscal year. Jacobs will also maintain his duties as treasurer, Michael Soll remains immediate past president, and Ming Marx will continue as secretary through the interim period.

Led by Soll, the board has embarked on a search for a permanent executive leader to fit the current strategic direction of Federation. Soll and the JFGO board will be soliciting community input on the role of the executive director and of the Federation in the larger Jewish community. It is expected that a permanent executive will be named by the fall.

New lay leadership for 2018-20 will be voted on during the next JFGO annual meeting in August. The Federation has also approved a succession plan that leverages the collective experience of its current board. The slate of officers to be put forth for approval in August includes:

President: Brad Jacobs, the current treasurer;

Treasurer: Daniel Krise, a current board member and finance professional;

Vice President: Ming Marx, the current secretary (and Bornstein Leadership Development Program alum), with the candidate to replace him as secretary to be named.

After the Federation hires a permanent executive leader, Forest would become immediate past president and Soll would return to the board as an at-large community representative.

Co-presidents Jacobs and Haber commended the Federation board for its support and guidance during the past several months of transition in the wake of the departure of Executive Director Olga Yorish in August 2017.

"We are truly impressed with the quality of the current board of directors and your willingness to roll up your sleeves to make things happen," Haber and Jacobs said in a joint statement to the board.

The Federation's board of directors is composed of a dynamic group of young and veteran community leaders and professionals dedicated to serve the Jewish community. The Board welcomed the opportunity to refine the Federation's strategic direction with the needs of a new generation in mind. The organization will continue to focus on functions that are essential to the community and can be executed most effectively by the Federation, such as leadership development, outreach, issues advocacy, and support of Israel and global Jewish causes. Funds will be raised to execute a budget set to accomplish JFGO's core work, with additional resources used to help the community's organizations and synagogues meet their own goals.

The Federation has maintained stewardship of the Maitland Jewish Community Campus while meaningfully reducing community debt in conjunction with matching grants from the Harris Rosen Foundation and the Jewish Capital Alliance, and generous community-minded donors. JFGO is now in discussions with campus agencies regarding a collaborative effort to bring new permanent efficiencies to campus and community operations.


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