Leadership Transition at JWI

JWI’s Lori Weinstein to become CEO Emerita; Meredith Jacobs named incoming CEO


left: Incoming CEO Meredith Jacobs; right: Lori Weinstein, to become CEO Emerita in 2020.

left: Incoming CEO Meredith Jacobs; right: Lori Weinstein, to become CEO Emerita in 2020.

Washington, D.C. – After 20 years shaping the mission and work of Jewish Women International (JWI), Lori Weinstein announced today that she will be stepping down as CEO at the end of 2019. JWI’s board of trustees has named current Chief Operating Officer Meredith Jacobs as its incoming CEO.  

Weinstein is credited for overseeing the organization’s transition from the membership-based B’nai B’rith Women to mission-based Jewish Women International.

Under her visionary leadership, JWI created a rich portfolio of programmatic, philanthropic, and advocacy initiatives that empower the lives of women and girls — from college campuses to domestic violence shelters to the halls of Congress — that champion the prevention of all forms violence and build an ever-growing platform of women’s leadership initiatives. 

“It has been the honor of my professional life to navigate this journey, bringing JWI into the 21st century. Truly we created a “start-up” out of a legacy organization – and illuminated an ambitious path with programmatic depth and engagement for thousands of women across generations. I am so proud that our meaningful work and our strong voice have made JWI the organization that it is today and I am so thrilled that Meredith will become JWI’s next CEO.” 

Weinstein, who will assume the title of JWI’s CEO Emerita at the end of December, will take on a smaller role within the organization as well as begin consulting on women’s leadership and philanthropy.

Ellen Stone, chair of JWI’s board of trustees and executive vice president of marketing for Bravo, Oxygen, and Universal Kids, said of the transition, “Joining the board under Lori’s incredible leadership allowed me to experience first-hand what it means to set a vision, execute and attain it. Her ability to lead gracefully, navigate challenges and bring about real change has been a remarkable legacy and one that I hope to build upon in my role as board chair.”

This seamless leadership transition between Weinstein and Jacobs has been in process for some time and the full board unanimously endorsed the personnel committee's recommendation that Jacobs be appointed to the position of JWI CEO. 

“Meredith has played a significant role in the phenomenal success of JWI during her 12 years of progressively engaged leadership; the first six as a member of JWI’s board of trustees, and the next six as a member of the executive staff team,” said Vivian G. Bass, JWI’s immediate past board chair and CEO Emerita of Jewish Foundation of Group Homes. “She is creative, strategic, and a natural leader. She is the perfect choice at this pivotal time when JWI's issues are at the forefront of our national conversation.”

Prior to joining JWI, Jacobs, a best-selling author, served as editor-in-chief of The Washington Jewish Week, building relationships with the Greater Washington Jewish community, and leading the paper to win multiple awards. A former radio and television host, she pioneered online communities for Jewish women through her website, ModernJewishMom.com, which later merged with kveller.com

She has taken a leading role expanding the organization’s women’s leadership programming and mentoring initiatives, as well as its work to ensure safety, respect, and equity in the Jewish communal workplace. 

“JWI, as it stands today - strong, vibrant, perfectly in line with the young women of today and tomorrow - is because of the leadership and vision of Lori Weinstein,” Jacobs said. “She has reinvented what it means to be a Jewish women’s organization so that it has both legacy and longevity. Not only was she always one step ahead, she has positioned JWI to remain at the leading edge for the next 120 years. I will continue to build upon that strong foundation.”

She continued, “My mother was a BBW, my father was president of his B’nai B’rith lodge, my daughter served on the international board of BBYO, and my son founded an AZA chapter. JWI’s history is my family’s history. I am honored to take it into its future.”

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to empower women and girls by ensuring and protecting their physical safety and economic security, promoting and celebrating inter-generational leadership, and inspiring civic participation and community engagement. Inspired by our legacy of progressive women’s leadership and guided by our Jewish values, JWI works to ensure that all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their financial futures, and realize the full potential of their personal strength.

Action AlertDanielle Cantor