The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Board of Directors of its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) have named Jackie Congedo the new director of JCRC.
The selection comes after a several months long national search coordinated by JVS Career Services.
“After JVS and I screened many national candidates, I along with Sarah, Michelle Kohn, Greg Landsman, Gary Greenberg, Walter Spiegel, John Youkilis, and Ronna Schneider interviewed three finalists,” said Shep Englander, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. “Although all three were strong candidates, we agreed unanimously that Jackie's talents and leadership style make her the best fit.”
Congedo brings a decade of strategic communications, public relations, current affairs, and journalism experience to the JCRC, which works to protect Jewish security, recognizing that Jewish security depends on a just society for all.
Jackie has worked at the Jewish Federation for a year and a half as a key member of the Communications and Marketing team, leading media and other strategic communication initiatives. She spent a significant amount of that time working with the JCRC.
Congedo will succeed Sarah Weiss, who is leaving the helm of the JCRC to focus on her work as executive director of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education (CHHE), which is undergoing a major expansion and relocation. Weiss has been working as both the director of the JCRC and the executive director of CHHE for the past six years. In late 2018, CHHE plans to reopen at the historic Union Terminal with significantly increased space and public visibility. In her role with CHHE, Weiss will remain active in many civic and interfaith activities and work to collaborate with the JCRC and foster positive relationships on behalf of the Jewish community.
“We owe Sarah a debt of gratitude for service to our community and her dedication to the JCRC over the six-year tenure of her leadership. In working closely with Jackie over the past two years, I’m confident she is the right person to take the torch from here, as we have come to trust and depend upon her remarkable communication skills as well as her intellect, high standards, and commitment to the Jewish community. I am confident she will lead with passion and professionalism during this critical time,” said Englander.
Congedo will lead the JCRC in its important work of combating anti-Semitism, creating and maintaining relationships with local and state elected officials, educating about and advocating for Israel and Jewish causes, providing opportunities for respectful, diverse dialogue, building and growing relationships with other Cincinnati community and interfaith groups, and mobilizing the Jewish community to work on behalf of the JCRC’s mission to ensure a just society for all.
“I’m honored to be in a position to build on the JCRC’s rich legacy during a time when values-driven consensus is so critical,” said Congedo. “We have a tremendous opportunity to lead the way for our community, to model respectful debate, and to use our voice and further our relationships in pursuit of justice and security for ourselves and our neighbors. There is much work to be done, and I’m excited to get started.”
Congedo received a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she graduated summa cum laude. After graduation, she worked the next nine years as an award-winning reporter at television news stations in Washington, DC; Lexington, KY; and Cincinnati, OH. Most recently, Congedo led public relations efforts for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and directed and implemented marketing and communications strategy for the JCRC and the Federation’s Israel Center. Congedo is also a graduate of the Jewish Nonprofit Leadership Institute.
“We are living in divisive times, and Jackie’s proven ability to communicate with and bring together diverse people and perspectives will serve her well in this role,” said JCRC President Michelle Kohn. “Her experience as a journalist has resulted in an extensive network of relationships throughout the greater Cincinnati community, and a honed ability to build new, diverse connections and advocate effectively on behalf of the Jewish community. I am confident her style of consensus-driven leadership and excellence in public relations is the right fit for the moment at hand.”
Over the past several weeks, Congedo and Weiss have been working together to ensure a smooth transition. Congedo officially assumes the director post on April 1.
Ellen Daniel, who has an extensive and diverse background in news and public relations, will be taking over as the Public Relations Manager for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati in Ms. Congedo’s stead.