TAU Overseas Student Alum Tapped for Hillel President Thursday, March 23, 2006
New generation of leadership steps forward
The Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life has voted unanimously to recommend Wayne L. Firestone to be named international president of Hillel to succeed Avraham Infeld. The entire Board of Directors will meet in two weeks to vote on the committee recommendation.
"I am honored by this vote of confidence," says Firestone. "With the Board's approval, I look forward to working with our lay leadership, our talented professional staff, our student leadership and our community partners to fulfill our vision: to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life."
"Wayne represents a new generation of leadership with a deep background in Jewish student activism, non-profit administration as well as law and business," says Hillel Board of Directors Chairman Randall Kaplan. "He has the vision, the passion, and the ability to take Hillel to new levels of achievement."
"I look forward to being Wayne's partner in moving the Hillel enterprise forward," said Hillel International Board of Governors Chairman Edgar Bronfman. "The challenges before us are great as we seek to double the number of students involved with Jewish life. Wayne understands today's students and how Hillel must engage them."
"Wayne is truly a Hillel success story. Not only does he have a long history with the organization, he understands its current structure, and how to implement our new Strategic Plan to take Hillel into the future," said Succession Planning Committee Chairman Neil Moss, the immediate past chairman of the board.
The Nominating Committee endorsed the unanimous recommendation of the Succession Planning Committee to name Firestone as president. If he is approved by the entire Board, Firestone will take office on September 1. President Avraham Infeld, who is leaving the position to return to his family in Israel, will continue to serve Hillel as president emeritus on a part-time basis. "Having worked closely with Wayne, I am thrilled that he will be succeeding me as president," said Infeld. "He is a talented manager, an astute thinker and a mensch."
An attorney by training, Firestone, 42, has held leadership positions in Jewish communal affairs since his undergraduate years at the University of Miami where he was a Hillel activist. Firestone was named executive vice president for the United States in September 2005, a position that enabled him to direct the organization's U.S. operations. He simultaneously served as the staff director of Hillel's Strategic Planning Committee which has developed a five-year plan for the organization. Firestone joined Hillel in a professional capacity in September 2002 when he was appointed executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, a partnership of Hillel and the Schusterman Family Foundation that brings together 35 pro-Israel groups working on college campuses.
Firestone has had a lifelong commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel. In 2001-2002, he served as director of the Israel Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League. From 1998-2001 he helped to strengthen Israel's high-tech industry as founder and chief executive officer of Silicon Wadinet, Ltd., a firm that helped foster the capitalization and growth of technology companies. He worked in academia from 1995-1998 as an administrator and adjunct lecturer at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology.
A graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, Firestone was lead case management associate in complex multinational litigation and negotiations with the prestigious firm Patton, Boggs, LLP, in Washington, D.C. 1990-1994. In that capacity he developed international trade strategies for clients on import-export projects under the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
As an undergraduate at the University of Miami, Firestone studied Judaic Studies and Politics and Public Affairs. He graduated cum laude in 1984 and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He spent two semesters at Tel Aviv University. He was a member of the National Student Secretariat, B'nai B'rith Hillel, 1985-86.
Firestone is married to Stephanie Krone Firestone, a foundation professional. The couple lives in Rockville, MD with their three children ages 11, eight and three.