New President for ORT America


11 March 2010 New President for ORT America ORT America has a new president and management team. Shelley Fagel, who co-founded a chapter of Womens American ORT in Naperville, Illinois some 30 years ago, was elected to a three-year term at the ORT America Triennial Convention which was held in Chicago over the weekend. Ms Fagel takes over from Doreen Hermelin, who steered the organisation through its first three years as a unified entity following the merger of American ORT and Womens American ORT. In her inaugural speech to the nearly 200 people at the Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel, Ms Fagel looked forward to securing the future of the organisation, speaking of the need to ensure that the organisation kept pace with technological changes and to draw in new members while nurturing existing supporters. ORT Americas new National Board of Directors. National President Shelley Fagel is standing at the centre of the group with Executive Committee Chair John VerStanding and Immediate Past National President Doreen Hermelin to her left. We must never forget the sturdy foundation on which ORT has been built but we need to move our organisation into this fast paced society in which we operate, she said. I know that the Board of Directors which was elected this morning is made up of innovative, creative, forward thinking individuals who will not allow ORT to be stagnant. They bring a wide variety of skill sets which will help us as we navigate the paths between the tried and true and the innovative, creative and new, she went on. Ms Fagel said she would work closely with the organisations National Executive Director, Alan Klugman, and newly-elected Chair of the Executive Committee, John VerStandig, to implement a new marketing strategy using social media to attract new and younger supporters. And lay leaders and professionals would work together to develop an integrated approach to fundraising, membership and marketing. ORT America must be as cost-effective as it can be so that as much money as possible goes to our students around the world, she said. Change is not easy but change we must. Some of the changes will be an evolution, theyll happen slowly. Some of the changes will be more like a revolution they will happen quickly and effectively. She paid tribute to her predecessors energy and enthusiasm saying Ms Hermelin had brought together the inaugural Board of ORT America in some of the most difficult times that ORT in the United States had seen. World ORT Chief Development and Public Affairs Officer Sonia Gomes de Mesquita thanked Ms Hermelin for maintaining ORT Americas strong relationship with World ORT. Your enthusiasm, couple with your fondness for Israel, has made you an ideal advocate for ORT and its programmes both within the Jewish world and in the wider community, Ms Gomes de Mesquita said. In her final address as President, Ms Hermelin acknowledged the challenges of the task with which she was presented three years ago. For two fine organisations to come together as an even more effective single entity was a shidduch of monumental proportions, she said. Yet the marriage of Womens American ORT and American ORT has emerged even stronger and is flowering with amazing global initiatives and more supporters for ORT. She gave her heartfelt thanks to the outgoing Board for its extraordinary service. Your valuable participation in strategic endeavours resulted in creating an exciting, vital ORT America that we can all be proud of, she said, going on to praise her successor. ORT continues to be a force for growth worldwide and there could be no more dynamic force to make it happen than Shelley Fagel, Ms Hermelin said. I know that she will take this organisation to new heights of accomplishments and recognition at home, in Israel and around the globe. Mr Klugman added: I know of no other communal leader who could bring to the table the skill set that ORT America needs in its president at this particular moment in time. Besides being an effective fund-raiser and tireless champion of our students around the world, Mrs Fagel understands the importance of our keeping pace with constant changes to the communications landscape. Judy Menikoff, who co-chaired the Nominations Committee with the late Joe Cohen, said after the convention that the new lay leadership line-up featured people with a wide variety of relevant skill sets. The Nominations Committee set its guidelines after consulting with the leadership and we are very happy with the results, Ms Menikoff said. We have people with experience within the organisation and within the broader Jewish philanthropic community; we have people who were already in leadership positions as well as emergent leaders, and people who can serve as advocates for ORT. We also ensured that all our geographic, gender and other constituencies are represented. We are sure that with Shelley as President and John as National Executive Committee Chair, ORT America can extend its financial productivity and visibility within the American Jewish community. She characterized Ms Hermelins greatest achievement as helping to knit the two organizations together. Ms Gomes de Mesquita also conveyed a warm welcome to the new management line-up from World ORT President Dr Jean de Gunzburg, Director General and CEO Robert Singer and the organisations officers. Everyone looks forward to continue working together in close cooperation for the benefit of our tens of thousands of students, she said. Attendees were enthralled to hear how ORT had helped Argentinean graduate Andres Rozanski. The 24-year-old product analyst was for his personal integrity while at the ORT Belgrano High School in Buenos Aires and went on to study at the University of Bueno Aires where he was cited as the best student by the citys Stock Market Foundation in 2004. Entertainment was provided by another ORT Argentina graduate, Sol Abramso, who teaches at the ORT Technical School in Buenos Aires but who is also an accomplished singer. The keynote address was given by Roger Cossack, legal analyst for ESPN, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.