By Michael Jacobs mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

Jewish Family & Career Services celebrated a double leadership transition at its annual meeting March 26 at Temple Sinai.

Atlanta Jewish Times - JFCS Rick Aranson

Photo by Eric Bern – Rick Aranson will become the CEO of JF&CS in July.

The typical transition was the end of Lynn Redd’s two-year term as president, the organization’s lay leader, who gave way to John Perlman.

The unusual transition came in the professional ranks. After 24 years, Gary Miller was attending his final annual meeting as the CEO. Rick Aranson, the 11-year chief operating officer, will take over in July.

“Our new leaders … will take the agency to new heights,” Redd said in assessing her “very busy, productive two years” as president. She said the accomplishments of her term included:

  • The launching of a $5.1 million capital campaign to complete the JF&CS campus in Dunwoody, toward which $1.6 million has been raised during the campaign’s quiet phase.
  • Efforts to earn income from some of the services and technologies JF&CS offers to those who can afford to pay, a process that aims to ensure the agency’s sustainability by getting managers to think like social entrepreneurs.
  • Increased cooperation with other agencies in the belief that JF&CS should stick to the things it does best or that no one else does and should find partners for other services.
  • The development of a board with new members and new talents.
  • The transition from Miller to Aranson, which includes keeping Miller as a consultant to oversee the capital campaign.

She attributed much of her success to Perlman, whom she called the most active first vice president ever.

Perlman, who served as the president of one of the predecessor agencies to JF&CS, Jewish Vocational Services, in the early years of Miller’s time as CEO, demonstrated the smooth shift in the presidency when he listed the accomplishments he hopes to celebrate in two years: new facilities funded by the capital campaign; continued growth of earned income; a continued emphasis on doing only those things JF&CS does the best; a positive transition from Miller to Aranson; and expanded programming and community outreach.

Aranson and Miller showed similar continuity.

“You have made JF&CS what it is today,” Aranson told Miller.

Aranson said he doesn’t expect the agency’s vision to change much, except as necessary to meet new community needs. “I envision JF&CS as an impact-driven, progressive and dynamic organization that balances a sophisticated business strategy while respecting its mission, tradition and core values.”

He, Miller, Redd and Perlman emphasized that all they do is about the mission.

For his part, after explaining the four keys to the alchemy of building a dynamic organization, Miller said it comes down to the people. “I have been blessed with the greatest dream team in the history of nonprofits.”

Some members of the team were honored at the meeting:

  • Board member Mindy Sard, the co-chair of The Tasting, was given the Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award.
  • Comptroller John Jordan received the Stacy G. Fialkow Staff Professional Development Award.
  • Outgoing Ben Massell Dental Clinic Chief of Staff David Zelby was recognized for more than 35 years of volunteer service at the clinic, including 15 years as chief of staff. Stephen Bankston is taking over that role.