Five questions for Marci Mayer Eisen

Marci Mayer Eisen

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Marci Mayer Eisen is the Director of the Millstone Institute at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and primary staff person for JProStl, community-wide collaborations to connect, train and inspire professionals and volunteer leaders. Eisen previously worked at the Jewish Community Relations Council coordinating interfaith volunteerism and spent the majority of her career at the Jewish Community Center, where she was Director of Family Service and Jewish Community Life and developed hundreds of family programs and community special events. 

A native of Philadelphia, Eisen has her master’s of social work degree from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University and a Certificate in leadership and non-profit management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She also received certification as a leadership coach through the College of Executive Coaching. She is a graduate of Focus St. Louis’ CORO Women in Leadership and Leadership St. Louis and has attended hundreds of seminars locally and nationally. 

You’ve been working in the St. Louis Jewish community for more than 36 years. What keeps you engaged?  

I’m driven by the values and opportunities to build community. I’ve studied for years the profound needs we all have for belonging and feel so privileged to have worked at the J, JCRC and Federation. My favorite part of my job has always been working with volunteer committees to engage and empower others. Most recently I’ve expanded to become a certified leadership coach.

How would you explain the essence of your job as director of the Millstone Institute?  

Big picture is leadership development and professional training. We do this through our core initiatives – JProStl, our professional association, Millstone Fellows, Presidents’ Circle and support for our boards through training, leadership coaching and individualized consulting. Ultimately, we work to not only provide information; we want to build trust, mutual respect and a strong desire to work together throughout the entire community. 

Is there anything about the St. Louis Jewish community you think is different or unique compared to other Jewish communities around the country?  

I think St. Louis is the perfect storm — big enough that there are many opportunities for new ideas and new collaborations and small enough to know each other…and drive most places in 20 minutes. 

Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to know? It could be something personal or work-related. 

My friends know I enjoy games, especially Scrabble, Boggle and backgammon. I’m also crazy about Siamese cats. I read a lot and always love to talk about memoirs. Also, most people don’t know that I’ve been tutoring a young mom from Mexico in English for nearly six years through Immigrant and Refugee and Women’s Program (IRWP).

I know you are a big fan of musical theater. What is your all-time favorite show and why?  

I think about this question often because I love so many shows. My favorite for many years was “A Chorus Line,” although I can talk about anything from “West Side Story” to “In the Heights.”