‘Light’ CEO to step down at end of March

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

St. Louis Jewish Light CEO Andrew Polin is stepping down at the end of March to pursue a business opportunity outside of Missouri. He took over the position of CEO in January 2002 and has brought many changes to the paper over the years.

Light board president Milton Movitz said he felt Polin is very bright and entrepreneurial. He credits Polin with cutting expenses and bringing the paper’s finances under control.

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Movitz also praised the many new innovations Polin brought to the paper.

“Andy has done an extraordinary job covering the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival, the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival and the upcoming Kaleidoscope Israel 60th anniversary,” Movitz said. “I wish him well in the future.”

Polin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He worked for 11 years overseeing the Jewish Journal in South Florida. He also went on to receive his MBA from the University of Florida after developing a stronger interest in the business side of publishing.

“I am grateful to the Light, the community, my board members, my great staff and the freelancers for making everything possible,” Polin said. “Without these six years I wouldn’t have the chutzpah and courage to tackle my next business venture. I’ve enjoyed my time in St. Louis and the friends I’ve made and wish everyone the best.”

During his time at the Light Polin worked to improve the editorial quality of the paper and created a better weekly product. Local readers have been pleased with the inclusion of more stories.

“The community owes him our appreciation and thanks for the leadership he’s provided at the Light, particularly with the improvement in the editorial and financial departments,” Jewish Federation executive vice president Barry Rosenberg said. “There’s been a lot of progress over the past six years he has been here and we wish him all the best.”

Movitz said many of the new features and special editions Polin created have helped improve the quality of the paper as well as provide greater coverage of local, national and international stories. Some of the most recent special editions include: the Year in Review photos, last month’s Israel economic section and a special publication spotlighting interfaith efforts called “Building Bridges — Creating Connections Between Faiths and Races.”

One of the newest features Polin created is the “Mitzvot from the Heart” page which highlights the mitzvah projects performed by local bar and bat mitzvah students.

“I know someday the board president or editor is going to get a call from a parent whose child is featured on that page, to let them know someone just donated $1,000 in that child’s name to the charity they are supporting or purchased a large quantity of items to support that charity,” Polin said. “It will happen.”

Polin is also proud of the staff of the Light and the freelancers he has worked with over the years.

Published March 12, 2008