Elaine Goldstine admits to being overwhelmed by the positive responses she has received since being appointed the new CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg Nov. 26.
“I have received so many emails and phone calls,” Goldstine said. “It’s nice to know that so many people have such confidence in me. I am a doer. I am confident that I can do this.”
The longtime director of the Combined Jewish Appeal campaign here was appointed to the position on an interim basis last spring after her predecessor, Adam Bronstone, resigned after less than nine months in the position. The Torontonian became CEO in September 2014, succeeding Bob Freedman, who had led the Jewish community for 28 years.
The initial plan was to have Goldstine serve as interim CEO through the current CJA campaign period, with a search committee to be established early in the new year to find a permanent replacement for Bronstone.
“I assume that the board saw that things were going well under my leadership, liked what I was doing and decided to offer me the position,” Goldstine said.
Goldstine, a lifelong Winnipegger, grew up in a family that emphasized community service. “My parents [the late Ben and Sadie Raber] supported many Jewish causes.”
She began volunteering with federation more than 20 years ago, after her two sons reached school age. “I started as a volunteer with the CJA’s Women’s Philanthropy Division,” Goldstine recalled. “After a short time, Nada Rubin, the campaign chair, offered me a job with the campaign. Eventually, I was hired to become the campaign division chair.”
At the same time that Goldstine was beginning her career with federation, she was also involved with National Council of Jewish Women, Winnipeg section, eventually serving as the local chapter’s president.
Goldstine’s rise in the federation ranks has been an organic evolution. She assumed the reins of the CJA campaign 10 years ago after the death of her predecessor, Gerry Koffman, at a relatively young age. “I began filling for Gerry when he got sick,” she said. “After his passing, I was offered the job full time.”
Throughout her tenure at CJA, she and her team were able to increase the level of donations year after year up until 2014-15, when the campaign fell short for the first time in about 15 years. “We are back on track this year,” she said. “We have had a good response from the community.”
Goldstine spoke of the need for good communications between the federation and its beneficiary agencies. “Our focus has to be on helping our partner agencies to succeed,” she said.
She added that she’s modelling her leadership on that of Freedman. “His door was always open,” she said. “Staff members felt comfortable talking to him. He was a mentor to many.”
Over the next couple of months, the federation executive will be reflecting on where the community is and where it wants to go, Goldstine said.
“We are working toward continued growth for our community,” she said. “I am blown away by the large number of people who are calling our offices from different places who are considering moving to Winnipeg. Our city has become a destination. I am proud of our community.”
Goldstine is also looking forward to working with the federation’s new president. Lawyer Adam Levene was confirmed for a two-year term on Dec. 1 at the federation’s annual AGM.
“We are on the same wavelength,” Goldstine said of Levene. “We share a vision of wanting to move the federation to the next level.”
Levene has been a federation board member for the past 10 years and first vice-president for the last two.
“The federation does very important work,” he said. “It is because of the federation that we have the thriving community that we do.”