Silberman Named JCL CEO

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

Jewish Community of Louisville Board Chair Edward B. Weinberg has announced that Stu Silberman has been hired as president and CEO. Silberman has a consulting practice that assists in developing and launching new products and services in a variety of fields and is treasurer of the Jewish Community Center of Ann Arbor, MI. He will be joining the JCL staff within the next 60 days.

“We look forward to welcoming Stu and his family to Louisville,” Weinberg said, “His management skills undoubtedly will allow him to lead us to success in consolidating our organization and growing our community.”

Silberman is already learning about Louisville and the JCL, and will be ready to begin as soon as he arrives. “The JCL faces many challenges as it reinvents itself into a sustainable organization that can adapt to meet the needs of a changing community,” he said. “The new Board led by Ed Weinberg has taken many steps toward that goal, and I’m honored to be the individual selected to lead the community stakeholders in finalizing a common vision, then inspiring the professional staff and dedicated volunteers to act with the highest integrity to achieve that vision.


“My first actions,” he explained, “will be to:

  1. Understand the needs of the community;
  2. Identify resources to best fill the needs;
  3. Work with community stakeholders to ensure aligned, measurable objectives and prioritized efforts;
  4. Assign responsibilities and offer relentless support;
  5. Oversee as necessary (and not one bit more); and
  6. Continually assess progress to identify mid-course corrections.”

“We will succeed,” he stated, “and I’m thrilled to have been selected to hold the reins of the new organization as we embark on our next chapter together.”

Silberman acknowledges that becoming the CEO of the JCL is a major career change from his current positions as an entrepreneur in the business world and a lay leader at his Jewish Community Center, but he believes it is really the next logical step for him.

He described it as “a process that was initiated over 10 years ago, when my wife, Alison, and I moved to Ann Arbor, MI, and started our family. We found and joined the JCC and enrolled our daughter in the Early Childhood Center. My wife got involved with parent volunteer activities, and we attended a number of family events.”

After his second daughter was born and enrolled in the JCC’s programs, Silberman’s awareness of and appreciation for the Center continued to increase. “The building, the agency and the people who ran it were there for us when we needed them – when we moved into town not knowing a single person.

“I saw the role that volunteers played,” he continued. It is members needs that define what the JCC offers, and it is the volunteers who support the various programs and direct the overall governance of the agency. “So one year, when the call went out for volunteers to build up the committees, I decided I wanted to be a part of it.

“Being an MBA with several years of experience,” he added, “I volunteered for the Finance and Facilities Committee to contribute my business, administration and marketing expertise.”

Silberman immediately initiated several actions to help ensure the long-term viability of the JCC, and quickly learned, “that even a single volunteer can make a huge difference. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to join the Board as a member.”

He continued to work diligently for the agency, and later was chosen as treasurer, a post that he still holds today.

“The ‘aha!’ moment about changing my profession came relatively recently,” Silberman recounted. “After I helped our exec tackle a particularly challenging issue, she turned to me and said, ‘Stu, you should lead a JCC.’”

He took the suggestion seriously and, through JCCA (the national Jewish Community Centers Association), learned that if he chose to pursue an executive director’s position in Jewish communal service, “it would offer me the opportunity to use my skills and ideas to lead an agency for whose mission I had passion,” Silberman said. “It would be an opportunity to join a group of like-minded people with similar backgrounds in need of my leadership.”

“Upon learning about the particularly challenging role of leading a new combined organization in Louisville, I was really intrigued,” he explained. “The position is complex and will be challenging.” In fact, he feels “the role was almost custom designed for me.”
Drawing from his experience as a lay leader, Silberman said, “I envisioned myself as a full-time Jewish communal leader and realized how it is a natural progression building on my lay leader role.

“I realized that I would be able to leverage all my relevant corporate and volunteer experience,” he continued, “administer a larger budget, govern a more complex organization, motivate more staff to offer superlative services, establish strong relationships with local leaders, arouse a sense of belonging within an even larger community, inspire a board of volunteers to develop innovative ways to help those in need, and be able to provide for my family while doing so.”

“I owe a great deal to my mentors,” he added, “who encouraged me to step up to meet each new challenge, knowing that while I didn’t necessarily have command of the subject matter, I would be able to figure out what needed to be done, and lead a staff to successfully complete the objectives of each new assignment.”

Both Silberman and his wife grew up in Jewish families and were “raised with an awareness and appreciation of our shared heritage. Each of us has been involved in different Jewish organizations throughout our lives.” His first leadership position was as treasurer of his chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at Lehigh University.

Silberman has been to Israel twice, the first time as a youth with his family, and the second as part of his coursework for his MBA at the Wharton Business School. He participated in a semester-long project with the Tel Aviv University’s Recanati Business School, and the final project was presented in Israel.

Throughout his personal Jewish journey, Silberman says, “My wife, Alison, has been my partner in each new adventure. I rescued her from New York City, took her to Michigan, then to Japan, then back to Michigan, and now to Louisville.”

In both Ann Arbor and the U.S. Marine Base in Hiroshima, Japan, they found a warm, welcoming Jewish community. Their current home congregation is Temple Beth Emeth. In addition to starting school at the JCC, his daughters, Skylar, 10, and Rachel, 8, “have each attended camp both at the JCC and hosted by the local Chabad House. Both attend Religious and Hebrew school at our congregation.”

“My wife participates in Hadassah,” he continued, “and we all attend community-wide events hosted by the Federation.”

Currently, Silberman is principal of Silberman Consulting. He has also served in several capacities, including as a senior program manager, for Ford Motor Co. He has an MBA in marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in computer engineering with a minor in law from Lehigh University. He continues his Jewish studies with several study groups and also stays up to date on press coverage of the Jewish community and the Middle East.

The Silbermans are looking forward to coming to Kentucky. “It’s funny,” he said. “My daughters are both equestrians. When we first visited a few years ago and they learned about horse farming here, they asked if we could move to Kentucky. Talk about overindulgent parenting.”

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