David Steirman, Chair, has served on the boards of many organizations in the Jewish community. He is the Board President of the North Peninsula Jewish Campus and is the immediate past Board Chair of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA). He serves as an officer of the JCPA (the national public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community), Moldaw Residences and the Jewish Senior Living Group and is a board member of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Home & Senior Living Foundation. He also previously served as President of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma counties, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Bureau of Jewish Education. David was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated in 1976 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1979. Professionally, he is President of Kestrel Investment Management Corporation in San Mateo. David, his wife, Anne, and two children live in Hillsborough where David serves on the town’s Financial Advisory Committee.
Michael Bergelson, Treasurer, is on leave from his role as Strategy Director at Cisco, where he is responsible for new product and business model strategy for their line of unified communication products. Prior to this position, he managed Cisco's suite of customer care applications. Mike joined Cisco in June 2006 with the acquisition of Audium, where he was a co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer. He was also co-founder and CEO of Conducive, an online advertising firm. Earlier in his career, MIke was with First Manhattan Consulting Group where he advised clients on customer contact strategies, customer profitability and product development. In his spare time, Mike makes bagels and bialys, trying to prove, one friend at a time, that New York City water is not, in fact, a requirement.
Joel Yanowitz, Secretary, is a management consultant known for his ability to help organizations accelerate business results and develop increased organizational capability. His clients include global corporations, entrepreneurial startups and non-profits. As a Vice President of Arthur D. Little, a global management consulting and technology development company, he led the Organization Practice in North America and co-led the Strategy Practice. Prior to that he was the Managing Director of Innovation Associates, a management consulting firm that pioneered approaches to organizational change and learning whose work was documented in the best-selling business book The Fifth Discipline. In the social sector, he is a founding Board member of The Red Tomato, and is on the Board of the African Food and Peace Foundation.
Gesher Calmenson, Board Member, is Founding Director of Remember Us: The Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah Project, and a recent UpStart Bay Area alumnus. He is a Jewish Family Education Fellow, Director Emeritus of a synagogue school, past chairman of the Educators Council at BJE, and was a schools assessment specialist for the NESS Bay Area Initiative. Gesher retired in 1997 from a career in printing and publishing. He was the owner of an editorial production company specializing in college textbooks, and vice-president/graphics division manager of a major San Francisco printing company. In the 1970s he was Director of Esalen San Francisco and a Board member of Esalen Institute. He earned a second-degree black belt in Aikido at age 64. His social service work includes acting as founding facilitator for the Pioneer Network, a national organization that has shifted the paradigm of long-term care of the elderly.
Merrick Furst, Ph.D., Board Member, distinguished Professor and Associate Dean, organizes commercialization activities and new venture creation and directs faculty development in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. He is a founder of the anti-botnet startup, Damballa, Inc. His most recent venture is a company that starts and invests in new companies, Profounder, LLC. Prior to GT he was at Berkeley where he was president of the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley and CEO of Essential Surfing Gear, Inc. He served on the boards of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay and the board of the Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco. Merrick is known for seminal research in algorithms, complexity theory and Artificial Intelligence. Although he lives in Atlanta with his wife, April Dworetz, and has two children, his regular visits to the Bay area have become even more frequent with his daughter’s matriculation at USF.
Ralph Guggenheim, Board Member, is an animation producer and media consultant. As a co-founder of Pixar, Ralph produced Toy Story, the first feature length computer animated film. Subsequently, he was an Executive Producer at Electronic Arts. In 2003 he formed Alligator Planet, an animation production company in San Francisco, where he has produced several animated features, animated episodes for TV and the web, and consulted to a number of traditional and new media companies. Ralph has served on numerous film festival juries, as well as the San Francisco Arts Commission and the board of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
Tara Mohr, Board Member, is a life and executive coach, working with nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs. Over the past ten years she has worked in diverse roles in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on organizational change, strategic planning and program design in the Jewish community. Tara is the co-author of The Women’s Passover Companion and The Women’s Seder Sourcebook (Jewish Lights Publishing 2003) and is currently at work on a third book on personal growth. She received a BA in English Literature from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and loves to spend time seeing art, reading poetry, cooking for friends, and writing.
Gale Mondry, Board Member. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, Gale began her professional career as a health care attorney, working for 7 years as staff counsel for Stanford University and 11 years as Vice President for Legal Services at California Pacific Medical Center. She left the law in 1998 and became actively involved with various community organizations. An experienced board member, Gale currently serves as board chair of Education Pioneers, a national education reform nonprofit, and as vice-chair of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Previously, she was the board chair of the JCCSF and of Gateway High School, an award winning charter high school that she co-founded.
Caroline Novak, Board Member, runs a Private Wealth Management practice at Merrill Lynch, where she and her team develop customized, multi-dimensional strategies to help preserve capital and coordinate financial affairs for a select group of high net worth individuals and families. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Caroline was with Morgan Stanley, where she initially started her practice in 2001. Before financial services, Caroline's experience was in financial analytics and product management roles at two technology companies: a Behemoth Telecommand a tiny Silicon Valley start-up. On the non-profit front, Caroline currently serves on the JCF Business Leadership Council Steering Committee and Co-Chairs its Nomination &Governance sub-committee. Caroline is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where she was a member of NCAA Division I, Women's Tennis team. She's been a member of the Olympic Club since 1995. In addition to playing tennis, Caroline enjoys golf, mountaineering, rock climbing, and distance running. She is married and lives in San Francisco.
Ric Rudman, Board Member, has over thirty years of board experience with non-profit organizations. He has served as the president of the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center (now called the Oshman Family JCC), Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Hillel at Stanford University and the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto. Currently, he is serving as an officer of the board of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center in San Mateo. Ric retired in 2006, after a 33-year career, as the EVP and COO of the non-profit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Ric continues to pursue his interest in the energy field as a member of the advisory boards of two Silicon Valley energy efficiency start-up companies, Greenbox and GroundSource Geothermal. In 2009, Ric's volunteer activities as a mediator led to full-time employment with Project Sentinel, where he is managing community mediation programs for the cities of Palo Alto and Los Altos.
Randi Shafton, Board Member, is the founder of Girl 360, an on-line publishing site for "tween" girls. Over the past 25 years, she has worked extensively for non-profits and foundations in marketing, strategic planning, grant review, advocacy, and development. She also has worked as a legislative aide in Washington D.C. and Sacramento in health care policy and education reform. Randi received a B.A. from UCLA and a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She lives in San Mateo, and when she isn't playing soccer with her kids, Ellie, Zoey, and Jake, and husband Drew, she loves to run marathons, travel and read.
Shirley Solomon, Board Member, has been a long time volunteer in the Jewish Community. At present, she serves on the Boards of two National Jewish Organizations and a number of boards and Committees locally. Shirley grew up in a small town in the Mississippi Delta with a rich family Jewish heritage and not too many opportunities for organized Jewish Education. She has a B.A. from Smith College and a M.A. from New York University, married Allan from Boston, and raised four children in Louisville, Kentucky; where she was active in the Louisville JCC, Louisville Community Hebrew School and other Jewish Educational offerings. Shirley enjoys her four grown children, their spouses and eleven grandchildren and is proud of the fact that they participate in Jewish Life in four separate communities in the U.S.—Boca Raton, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Altos. She feels that having three grandchildren in Los Altos makes her a Bay Area Resident, once removed.
Wendy Verba, Board Member, is a senior program officer at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, where she helps families with supporting foundations and donor advised funds make a difference through effective philanthropy. Prior to that, she worked as an independent consultant with foundations and community organizations to help them design, fund, and launch programs that improve life in the Bay Area. Working with clients like the Jewish Community Federation, Jewish Vocational Service, the San Francisco Foundation and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Wendy has developed new funding guidelines, managed grantmaking, planned and executed marketing and fundraising strategies, launched new programs and transformed existing ones. Wendy has also served as Director of Development for Jewish Vocational Service and on the Development Committee at the Wornick Jewish Day School. She lives in Burlingame with her children and husband, Jeremy.