Weintraub steps down

BY KEREN DOUEK, STAFF WRITER

Ken Weintraub announced to the Jewish Community Center board of directors on April 6 that he will be stepping down from his current position as president and CEO of the JCC some time over the course of the next year.

Weintraub, 55, has worked at the JCC for 22 years and as president and CEO of the JCC for the last five years, and said he is ready for the next phase of his career.

ADVERTISEMENT


“It is sort of exciting,” Weintraub said the day following the announcement. “Once I finish my commitments here at the center I am going to look particularly in the non-profit sector, but I am not going to rule anything out.”

Weintraub said he has committed to stay for up to one year, “as the agency embarks on the search process for my successor, and if that were to be consummated prior to that it would be before the years is up, but I am fully committed to stay up to a year.”

Weintraub said he is confident the transition will be a smooth one.

“I am going to be here to obviously fulfill my responsibilities as CEO during the transition, and I will be able to assist and consult beyond that in whatever ways will be requested,” he said. “It is going to be seamless because I have a very strong management team we have put together in recent years. Our program is intact and the best days for this agency are ahead of us.”

While Weintraub emphasized that the time was right for him and for the JCC, his announcement does come at a somewhat precarious time for the JCC, which launched a $30 million capital campaign — the largest in its history — to finance a complete renovation of the Carlyn H. Wohl Building, an upgrade of the Marilyn Fox Building, and continued improvements at Camp Sabra at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as establish an endowment for scholarships and programs and an endowment for building maintenance. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

“This has been entirely voluntary,” Weintraub said. “This is a great time for me. I have been doing this work now for decades. The last few years have been really intense … and I feel right now this is the perfect time.”

Todd Siwak, the JCC’s board chair, said the timing was right for Weintraub and for the JCC too, as the JCC’s embarks upon such a large campaign, and “actually makes us a very appealing candidate, so from that perspective we feel the timing is probably perfect,” he said. “Obviously there is never a great time for your CEO to retire.”

The JCC announced it is planning to conduct a national search to replace Weintraub, and Siwak said he does not expect Weintraub’s resignation to affect the JCC’s welfare.

“We intend to engage in a very methodical, orderly search which will be nationally comprehensive for someone who really possesses the type of skills and competencies that a non-profit organization today requires.”

Weintraub said the position brings with it challenges that face any large organization.

“I think the greatest challenge is to ensure as we move forward in our campaign in our renovations and reconstruction that the quality of the organization and service delivery continue to go in the highest quality and are unaffected by all the physical changes that may be going on, and also to be there to implement the final stages of strategic planning for reconstruction as well as ensuring with our board and staff that all the terrific services we are doing continue unabated and uninterrupted,” he said.

A native of Buffalo, Weintraub earned his undergraduate degree at the State University of New York and his Masters of Social Work degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent nine years at the JCC in St. Paul before joining the JCC in St. Louis as director of family programming in 1984.

Over the course of his career with the St. Louis JCC, Weintraub also served as coordinator for the JCC’s day camps and later as director of senior adult services, before being named as assistant executive director and the agency’s first director of development in 1991. Weintraub was named associate executive director in 1995 and president and CEO in 2000.

Siwak said Weintraub will be missed.

“He has contributed really selflessly to the agency, and for that we will always be grateful and he will always be remembered as someone who recognized the business model needed to be changed and had the internal strength to help implement the change, and that is not easy so for that we really owe him a great amount of gratitude.”

Weintraub said he has no plans to leave St. Louis. “I will be a member of the JCC forever, and I feel the JCC is on a terrific path for the future,” he said.

Keren Douek is a staff writer and can be reached at [email protected]