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Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0

Debra Askanase is the founder and Engagement Strategist of Community Organizer 2.0, a social media consulting firm to nonprofit organizations specializing in strategy and engagement. She has a passion for digital strategy, and creating a better world through online engagement. Prior to opening Community Organizer 2.0, Debra worked at nonprofit organizations, originally as a community organizer and later as a program director and executive director. Debra holds a B.A. from Emory University and a M.B.A. in International Business from Bar Ilan University. Debra regularly presents on issues of social media engagement, policy, implementation and strategy at conferences, including SXSW Interactive, the Nonprofit Technology Conference, the North American Jewish Day School Conference, and others. As a native Houstonian, Debra is excited for the opportunity to spend time once again in her Lone Star State!


David Bryfman, The Jewish Education Project

David is currently the Chief Learning Officer at The Jewish Education Project. David completed his Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU focusing on Jewish adolescent identity, development and experiential Jewish education. He is also a graduate of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. Prior to moving to New York, David worked in formal and informal Jewish educational institutions in Australia, Israel and North America. David is also an experienced Israel Educator, and is currently an educational consultant for the iCenter. Living in Brooklyn, with his wife and two children (Jonah 3 and a half and Abby 6 months old), in his spare time David also enjoys (sort of) running marathons.


Karen Daitch, NYL Cabinet | LCD Co-Chair

Karen Daitch is a JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet member and Co-Chair of Leadership Conference: Dallas.


She has held several leadership positions within the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund including serving on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Young Adult Division as well as Co-Chair of Campaign for YAD and Co-Chair of Outreach.  Karen also serves as a board member of Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco.

Karen owns a successful full-service event management company specializing in strategic solutions for profit and nonprofit organizations to create events tailor-made to customer needs. She is also a committee member with Meeting Planners International Northern California Chapter.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Karen has travelled to all seven continents and enjoys all things travel and food related.  She currently lives in San Francisco with her dog Oscar.


Bryan Drowos, NYL Cabinet | LCD Co-Chair
Bryan Drowos CFP®, Senior Vice President - Investments, is the managing partner of The Drowos Group at Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, a Wealth Management team.  He was formerly with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and has been in the investment advisory business for thirteen years. 

Bryan currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, is the current Chair of the Young Adult Division and is a proud member of the Jewish Federation of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. 

Previously, while living in Ft. Lauderdale, he was Chair of the Jewish Federation of Broward County’s Young Leadership Division, as well as Chair of the Ben Gurion Society and a member of the Board of Directors.  There he received the Jerry “Zvi” Wolff Leadership award and was named to JFBC’s Jewish Leader Spotlight.  Bryan is a member of AIPAC and an associate member of Hadassah, where his wife is a former Chapter President and Woman of Valor.  Bryan is a graduate of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Boca Class of 2009 and the Anti Defamation League’s Glass Leadership Institute.  He and his wife were honored in 2010 with the ADL’s Next Generation Leadership Award.  In May 2011, Bryan and his wife were among a small group of Jewish philanthropists and community activists invited to join President Barack Obama at the White House for a reception commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month.  

Bryan enjoys golf, running, cycling, traveling, collecting (and drinking) fine wines, dining at the world’s “Top 50” restaurants and rooting for his Virginia Tech Hokies on the football field.  Bryan’s greatest personal accomplishment is, and will forever be, delivering his own daughter who had an early, unplanned birth at home.  Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, he now resides in Boca Raton with his wife, Dr. Joanna Drowos and daughter, Lila Paige, and son, Jackson Noah.



Brian Elliot, Friendfactor 

Brian Elliot is the founder of Friendfactor, a gay rights organization for straight supporters, and he is currently a Principal of Elliot Strategy, an innovation and strategy consultancy based in New York City. Brian led Friendfactor to create a groundbreaking online advocacy tool, which was featured on the front page of the New York Times, and which Chelsea Clinton launched in the landmark 2011 New York marriage equality campaign.

Prior to starting Friendfactor, Brian helped entrepreneurs scale up their businesses while he was Director of Entrepreneur Services at Endeavor Global, an international development venture philanthropy firm. He experience spans multiple sectors, having worked at Bain & Company, The Bridgespan Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and he holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in Public Policy from Stanford University.

Brian is a winner of the SXSW 2012 Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, the 2010 Harvard Business School Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and SplashlifeÕs 30 Under 30 Civic Leaders Award. His work to start Friendfactor was also named one of Yahoo!Õs Top 10 Inspiring Acts of 2010.

David Feinman, The Jewish Federations of North America
David Feinman has been Senior Legislative Associate for The Jewish Federations of North America since January 2010. In this capacity, Dave promotes the interests and concerns of 154 Jewish Federations and more than 300 independent communities to Members of Congress and the Obama Administration on a wide range of issues, including the rights and social service needs of the disability community, poverty and nutrition, immigration, Holocaust-related issues, the U.S.-Israel relationship and other relevant foreign policy issues of concern to the Jewish community, working to ensure that the voice of the Jewish Federations is a prominent force in policy decisions in our federal government.

Before joining The Jewish Federations of North America, Dave served as Legislative Assistant for former Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida from January 2007 through January 2010. Dave advised him on a number of legislative issues, including budget and tax policy, the U.S.-Israel relationship and the Middle East Peace Process, anti-Semitism and Holocaust-related issues, consumer product safety, and transportation. Prior to this, he served as Staff Assistant for former Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada from September- December 2006, and as an intern in Congressman Wexler’s office from June-September 2006.

Dave is an alum of the University of Florida, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations, and of the University of Central Florida, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Analysis and Public Policy. Dave’s Master’s thesis was titled: Divided Government and Congressional Foreign Policy: A Case Study of the Post-World War II Era in American Government.

Seth Galena, Ayelet Nation
A long time advertising guy, Seth is the founder of the Jewish comedy and community website,

During the day, he works as an Account Director at VML, a Young & Rubicam Brands digital ad agency, where he manages digital strategy and creative development for clients like  Xerox, Chevron, and Y&R.

Awarded the Jewish Week's '36 under 36', Seth recently created a twitter campaign to remember Newtown's youngest victim, Noah Pozner at  

He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife Hindy Poupko and the memories of his 2 year old daughter Ayelet, who passed away last year.   

Sharna Goldseker, 21/64
Sharna Goldseker has nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector including thirteen in the philanthropic field as a grantmaker and as a consultant to families, foundations and advisors on next generation and multigenerational engagement in philanthropy and family enterprise.

Sharna is Managing Director of 21/64, a non-profit consulting practice specializing in next generation and multigenerational engagement in philanthropy and family enterprise.  In that capacity, Sharna facilitates Grand Street, a network of a hundred 18-35 year olds who are or will be involved in their family's philanthropy; speaks and consults on generational transitions using 21/64'suniquely developed tools; and, trains other advisors on 21/64's approach to multigenerational engagement.

Sharna earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania with majors in Urban Studies and Religious Studies. She has a Masters in Public Administration in Non-Profit Management from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where she was the inaugural Charles H. Tenney Fellow. She also has training in organizational development, group dynamics and family systems.

Sharna currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foundations and the Goldseker Foundation and is a member of the Collaboration for Family Flourishing.

Keith Greenwald, Co-Chair National Young Leadership
Keith Greenwald is a co-chair of National Young Leadership of The Jewish Federations of North America. He was previously the co-vice chair for Education and Leadership, and Membership of National Young Leadership.

He held many positions at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, including serving on the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors and the Planned Giving and Endowment Committee. Keith is also actively involved with AIPAC. 

Keith owns an insurance services firm specializing in integrating estate, executive benefits and charitable and business planning for individuals and corporations. He is a graduate of the University of Florida.


Jonah Halper, MPA

Jonah Halper is a non-profit marketer and fundraiser with over a decade of experience, specializing in new donor acquisition and engaging Gen X and Y'ers. As CEO of ALTRUICITY INC., he consults many organizations looking to engage young donors, and helps them develop a new generation of organizational leadership.


As a serial entrepreneur, Jonah founded NextGen:Charity conference, which brought top leaders in business and philanthropy to educate and inspire an audience of non-profit executives and leaders. In the last two years more than 1,000 executives attended the conference and more than 1.5 million viewers have seen the videos and enjoyed original content. He also launched, a boot camp in NYC that provides a fund raising crash course for both volunteers and non-profit professionals. Jonah is married with three children and lives in Wesley Hills, NY.


Susan Kramer, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas President/CEO

Susan Kramer assumed the role of President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas in February of 2011, the beginning of the Federation’s Centennial year.


She has energetically guided the Federation into its second century, already. In less than a year, she has met with hundreds of individual and potential donors, as well as the heads of all partner agencies. All major fundraising events have exceeded attendance records, beginning with her formal introduction to the Dallas community at the Federation’s Centennial Annual Meeting in June of 2011. She has been a sought after speaker at numerous community events, celebrations and dedications, and was keynote speaker at a recent meeting of the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association. She recently participated in the Federation’s Centennial Mitzvah Day, which mobilized over 3,000 Jews in a unified day of tikkun olam, by visiting seven of the job sites with Federation Board Chair Jeffrey Rasansky and Chair-Elect Jack Baum.

Kramer has also been a diligent proponent of change at the Federation, hiring a new management team and implementing the “Kramer Institute,” a weekly course in which staff professionals are trained in leadership skills and donor development. In addition to adopting the new JFNA logo and branding, she is developing the Federation’s Young Adult Division and Women’s Philanthropy Division in order to effectively engage all demographics of the Jewish community.  Kramer has been on two missions in the past year – to Cuba, where she was instrumental in delivering large quantities of pharmaceutical supplies to the Jewish community center in Havana -- and to the former Soviet Union and Israel.

She is a board member of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project and has sat on the Boards of Southeast Center for Judaism and the Advisory Committee of The Enlighten Foundation and the Jewish Teen Center and Jewish Family Institute. In addition, she founded the Denver Jewish Festival in 1994, was past Sisterhood President at East Denver Orthodox Synagogue and sat on Denver’s board for the National Council of Synagogue Youth. She was recognized in an editorial in the Intermountain Jewish News in 2008 as one of “Five people who make Passover freedom come alive.”

Kramer holds a B.S. in Psychology from Maryland University and a Masters in Non Profit Management from Regis University. She is also a graduate of Denver University’s Certification for Jewish Communal Professionals.

Kramer is married to Brett; they have two sons, Jules who has lived in Israel for four years and Max, who attends the University of Colorado at Denver.


Elyse Lackie, Co-Chair National Young Leadership

Elyse Lackie is co-chair of National Young Leadership of The Jewish Federations of North America.  She was previously the co-vice chair for Education and Leadership Development of NYL Cabinet.


Dr. Lackie has held several leadership positions within UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, including serving on the Executive Committee and co-chairing the Young Leadership Division.  She is currently a member of the Board of Governors of UJA.  She has also held several positions within Jewish Federations Canada – UIA, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of JFC-UIA.  She is a past recipient of UJA’s Leadership Development Award, and UIA-Canada’s Young Leadership Award of Excellence.


Dr. Lackie is a governor on the Board of the North York General Hospital Foundation, and vice chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee.  She is a member of the leadership team of the Annex Shul, a non-denominational, independent minyan in downtown Toronto.


She is an obstetrician and gynecologist at North York General Hospital, Toronto, and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.  She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, and completed a fellowship at Harvard University.


Nir Lahav, The Jewish Agency for Israel

Nir Lahav is the Jewish Agency's director of social activism programming. He is responsible for the development of programs such as Net@, Youth Futures and Youth Villages, as well as the launch of new programs such as Derech Eretz and Tikkun Empowerment Centers. One of the main components of these programs that is currently under development is the creation of sustainable frameworks for meaningful volunteer contributions of young Jews, while at the same time using the volunteer experience to enhance the Jewish identity and sense of Jewish collective belonging of the volunteers themselves.


Nir, formerly a successful businessman, decided to leave the commercial/private sector and turn his efforts toward nonprofit work in Israel. Nir has academic degrees from Tel Aviv University Law School and Pomona College in California. He studied at the Mandel School of Educational Leadership in Jerusalem, focusing on the area of unemployment and youth – and later combined  the two subjects as program director of JDC's "It's a Deal," a project targeting youth at-risk by teaching them business entrepreneurship and professional skills, while giving them a sense of self-worth.

Nir came to the Jewish Agency in 2006 as the director of the Youth Futures program. In his role as director, Nir greatly expanded the reach of the program - developing an effective model of educational and social intervention among Israel’s most disadvantaged youth. Nir also took responsibility for the Jewish Agency’s programs for youth after the Second Lebanon War. These activities were designed to help the children from Israel’s war-torn regions rehabilitate their lives and continue on a path of healthy development.


Next, Nir joined the “Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village” in Rwanda, serving as its interim director.  Nir, his wife, Dalit, and their three children resided in the village, while  Dalit served as a volunteer doctor in the village’s clinic. Nir's children were educated in the village; Nir’s oldest son worked as a volunteer for 6 months and later returned to Israel to enroll in the army.


Brett Laquercia, Anthem Singer

Brett Laquercia is one of the most dynamic and soulful singers in Dallas.  The Brett Laquercia group performs Jazz, and Classic Soul, Funk, R&B and Pop in the finest venues in town. Visit for more information about Brett.








Bradley Laye, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas COO

Bradley Laye is the Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas since October 2010.  He oversees the Planning and Allocations, Marketing, HR, IT, Finance and Administration, certain Campaign Divisions and the Center for Jewish Education.  Prior to joining the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Bradley was the Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island where he was responsible for all financial resource development including endowment and planned giving, the annual campaign, capital and supplemental gifts.  He also worked at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta as the Legacy Officer stewarding mega- gifts in the Atlanta Jewish Community.  He began his career as a Jewish professional as the CEO of Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach.


Alison Lebovitz, NYL Cabinet Chair Designate

Alison Goldstein Lebovitz is an author, television host, speaker, and nonprofit executive who believes that each of us has the power and responsibility to make this world a better place. In 2007, that conviction prompted her to become co- founder and president of One Clip at a Time, a nonprofit, inspired by “The Paper Clips Project” started in Whitwell, Tennessee, that promotes student activism and supports service learning in classrooms across North America.

In her spare time she is also the host of “The A List with Alison Lebovitz,” a weekly television series that airs on WTCI/PBS in Chattanooga, Tennessee and statewide on The Tennessee Channel. For the past 17 years she has written a monthly humor column that now appears in Tennessee Valley Parents Magazine, and her newly published book, “Am I There Yet?” is a collection of her candid essays and life-inspired stories.

Driven by her community spirit, faith and insomnia, Alison serves on numerous local and national nonprofit boards, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Lyndhurst Foundation, Tennessee Aquarium, Read20, and Jordan Thomas Foundation, and is Co-Chair Designate of National Young Leadership Cabinet for Jewish Federations of North America. She is a proud co-founder of Aleph Bet Children’s Center, a three-star community preschool that opened in Chattanooga in 2002, and recently served as the 2012 campaign chair for United Way of Greater Chattanooga.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Alison graduated with honors from Brandeis University and holds an M.A. in radio/television/film from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Alan, live in Chattanooga, Tennessee with their three boys, Arthur, Abe and Levi.



Elissa Maier, The Jewish Federations of North America

Elissa Maier is the Associate Vice President of the JFNA Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence.  Elissa has worked in the Jewish communal field for over 25 years.  Prior to working at JFNA, Elissa worked as the NJ Regional Director of the Jewish Theological Seminary and as a major gifts director at the American Society for Technion. Elissa has also served as a consultant and trainer in the areas of board governance, program management, effective communication skills and volunteer professional relations as well as many other topics. 


As a volunteer, Elissa is a past-President of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County and continues to serve on the board. 


Elissa has a Masters Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University and a BA from the University of Miami.


Cara Mendelsohn, Jewish Family Service

Cara Mendelsohn is President of the Board of Jewish Family Service, serves on a committee of National PTA and is a lead consultant for Community Success Solutions. She currently participates in Young Men's Service League, the Dallas Anti-Poverty Coalition, Dallas Homeless Youth Taskforce and is a member of the National and Texas Association of Parliamentarians.

Cara is the immediate past Chairman of the Collin County Homeless Coalition, has served as a "serial" PTA President, including two years as President of the Plano PTA Council with a membership of 36,000, Treasurer for Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center at Legacy, Advisory Board member for Salvation Army in Plano, Vice Chair of the Plano Complete Count Census Committee and Chair of the Plano ISD Teacher of the Year Gala. Cara has served on the Steering Committee for the Dallas Continuum of Care/Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Children First! Collin County Coalition legislative committee, JCRC Public Policy Commission, Plano ISD District Based Improvement Committee and Plano Symphony Advisory Board. Cara is a graduate of Leadership Plano class 23 and has received the Volunteer of the Year award from Volunteer Center of Collin County, the Shofar Award from the Dallas Jewish Committee on Scouting, two Life Member awards from PTA, the board leadership award from JFS, the Service Learning Community Partnership award from Collin College and the Environmental Education Award from the City of Plano.

Cara graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, married her childhood sweetheart, had a career as a human resource professional and is now raising three hilarious sons.



Hindy Poupko, JCRC

In September 2008, Hindy Poupko was appointed as Director of Israel and International Affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. She also serves as Executive Director of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, the umbrella for 25 young professional organizations. Previously, Hindy was a Senior Associate at Brand Sphere, a political consulting firm, where she worked on print and radio advertising for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign. Prior to that, she served as a communications intern for Hon. Corey Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ. Hindy has masterÕs degree in Public Policy and Israel Studies from New York University and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow Alum. She earned her B.A. at Stern College for Women (Yeshiva University) and was subsequently chosen as a Yeshiva University Presidential Fellow.


Jeffrey Rasansky, Chairman of the Board, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas

Jeff Rasansky is a native Dallas-site and is an attorney passionate about giving a voice to those who have been personally injured or harmed by the negligence or wrong-doing of others.  Relying on over 20 years of courtroom experience, Jeff represent clients in significant civil lawsuits across the country from business disputes, birth injuries, trucking accidents to injuries caused by dangerous products.  Texas educated, Jeff earned his law degree at Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law in 1990 after receiving his undergraduate Bachelors in Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987.

Rasansky’s courtroom work has led other lawyers to repeatedly name him to D Magazine’s list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas and the Texas Super Lawyers list published in Texas Monthly by Law & Politics Media. He has also been recognized as one of the 500 leading Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in America by Lawdragon.  Previously, Jeff was honored by Texas Lawyer newspaper as one of the best 40 lawyers under the age of 40.  Recently, Jeff received the inaugural Impact on Justice Award from the Access to Justice Foundation.

In addition to his professional work, Jeff is actively engaged in his community. Currently, Jeff serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and sits on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Jewish Federations of North America. Jeff has previously served on the Boards’ of Directors for the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Education Center and has been active in the Dallas chapter of the Joint Distribution Committee’s Ambassador’s Circle.   Jeff is a past president of Congregation Shearith Israel and is the founding president of the ATID Community Jewish (supplementary) High School.  Jeff also sits on the City of Dallas’ Judicial Nominating Commission.

Jeff is married to his wife, Jill and they have three children: Brittany (21), Justin (18) and Steven (16). 


Elissa Riesenfeld, JDC

Elissa Riesenfeld is originally from Houston, Texas and has been living in Dallas for four years. While studying at the University of Texas at Austin, Elissa participated on a JDC Entwine Insider Service Trip to Buenos AIres, Argentina. Elissa enjoyed volunteering abroad and assisting with the sustainable structures JDC supports in Argentina.


Currently, Elissa is a therapist at Hickory Trail Hospital. Elissa is also a resident of the Dallas Moishe House, hosting 5-6 events per month for the Jewish young adult community of Dallas.


Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, United Synagogue of Hoboken

Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, is the rabbi of the United Synagogue of Hoboken, New Jersey, a vibrant urban congregation right outside of New York City.   Rabbi Scheinberg has also served as Adjunct Instructor of Jewish Liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Academy for Jewish Religion.  He served on the editorial committee for Mahzor Lev Shalem, the new High Holiday prayerbook for Conservative Judaism, published in 2010.

In 2006, Rabbi Scheinberg served on the New Jersey Legislature's Death Penalty Study Commission as a representative of New Jersey's religious communities. The Commission's work set the stage for the abolition of capital punishment in New Jersey in December 2007. 

Rabbi Scheinberg plays piano and guitar and is a choral arranger and conductor.  He lives in Hoboken with his wife, Rabbi Naomi Kalish, a hospital chaplain and chaplaincy educator, and their three daughters.



Brian Seymour, NYL Cabinet

Brian Seymour is an active member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. He serves as a member of the Board, the Business and Professions Cabinet, and the Community Relations Council. He is the past chair of the Young Leadership Division and campaign chair for the Business and Professions Division of his Federation. He is also a sixth year member of the National Leadership Cabinet and National Young Leadership Co-Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Washington office. He was previously National Young Leadership Planned Giving and Endowment Co-Chair. He is actively engaged in his synagogue. In addition to his work within the Jewish community, he is also active elsewhere in his community. Among other activities, he sits as the Vice-Chairperson of the Florida Elections Commission, is on the City of West Palm Beach Mayor's Economic Roundtable, and is a member of Leadership Florida. In his professional life, he is a land use and environmental and litigation attorney and chair of the Environmental and Land Use Practice at Gunster, Florida's Law Firm for Business. Most importantly, he is married to his wife of 12 years, Lisa (a second year Cabinet member), and father to two boys, David (10) and Jacob (8).


Michael Siegal, Chair, Board of Trustees, The Jewish Federations of North America

Michael Siegal of Cleveland, OH, is the chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. He is also chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

Michael has served on numerous other nonprofit boards including AIPAC, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Israel Bonds where he served as International Campaign Chair from 1991 – 1993 and Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2011. He also served on numerous community and industry boards. He currently serves on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Board of Trustees in Cleveland.

Michael has received numerous awards including the Edwin M. Weiner Young Campaigner of the Year Award from the Cleveland Jewish Community, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Metal Center News’ Steel Man of the Year, and Inside Business’ Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame. 

Michael is Chairman & CEO of Olympic Steel, a publicly traded company, and a national expert in the steel industry. He is a frequent industry and university lecturer, speaking on industry trends in steel distribution, transforming and transitioning family businesses, initial public offerings and corporate governance, ethics and values.

Michael graduated from Miami University.


Jerry Silverman, The Jewish Federations of North America

Gerrald (Jerry) Silverman is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Jewish Federations of North America. He is a highly experienced leader in the North American Jewish community and longtime corporate executive, with over 25 years of experience.


Before joining The Jewish Federations, Jerry served as president of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.


For a decade before that, Jerry held a range of executive positions at the Stride Rite Corp. of Boston, including president of its international division; president, Stride Rite Children’s Group, and president, Keds Corp. Between 1979 and 1994 Jerry held several senior executive positions at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco including national sales manager of Levi Dockers.


Over the years, Jerry has been on the boards of a range of Jewish organizations, as well.
Jerry is married to Erica Silverman and is the father of five children ranging in age from 19-27.



Larry Smith, 6 Word Memoirs

Described by Oprah magazine as on Òa quest to spark the creativity of aspiring writers,Ó SMITH founder Larry Smith has spoken on storytelling and led workshops at companies such as ESPN, Twitter, Dell, Morgan Stanley, Google, and Shutterfly; at conferences, including PopTech and SXSW Interactive; and at foundations, nonprofits, and schools around the world. Smith has edited eight books of Six-Word Memoirs, as well as an anthology, The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure (Harper Perennial). Smith has written for The New York Times, the LA Times, Salon, Slate, Wired, Popular Science, ESPN The Magazine and other places. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Piper Kerman, and their son.





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