Friday, January 4, 2019


Dear Mark,

First, my apologies for the beat-down my Bears inflicted on your Vikings last Sunday. I think that victory was a reflection of changing times.

And I wanted to wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2019.

Mark, you have been formally "on the job" for 1-1/2 months now, after deep engagement with JFNA for years. I'm certain that you know that in your businesses, after terminating a CEO or a Head Coach, you don't have that person literally "hanging around" awaiting their replacement. As I have suggested, on these pages, in phone calls, it's past time for the organization to move forward, effecting change in the CEO position -- either on an interim or permanent basis -- NOW. 

You have been empowered to lead change, please Mark, get on with it. JFNA cannot wait any longer. This past decade has been execrable; the JFNA administration pestilential. Your predecessors have allowed JFNA to become a secret society, 25 Broadway is like a Faraday Cage from which no unwanted sounds escape. You have to assure that JFNA, the place where the Jewish public's business is conducted, is a true open book; a place where claims of "confidentiality" are barred.

Continuing to await the moshiach described in the job description published by JFNA's Search Consultant, DRG, is to put the organization further at risk. We have lost the institutional value systems that were in place at CJF and UJA -- so lost that most do not remember what they were. But you remember them, Mark: you helped to build them. It was Bob Iger at Disney who said: 
"The most important thing a CEO does is create a value system...Then it's incredibly important to live by those values."
Sadly, we have had a Chief Executive who not only didn't construct a value system, he deconstructed the institutional values that were created and implemented by the great work of those who preceded him. And, he did so while eliminating institutional memory so vital to moving an organization forward.

I have been terribly saddened that a succession of JFNA lay leaders sequentially blew multiple chances that they were offered at course correction for the organization. You now have your chance to implement necessary change. As the brilliant business journalist for the New York Times wrote about the Tesla Board in a quote worthy of JFNA:
"What it tells us is this Board, as a strategic plan, must be using the Jim Jones-Jonestown suicide pact."
But it no longer needs to be that way. JFNA no longer needs to be at the cutting edge of meh. You have been blessed with the mantle of Board Chair at the most critical point in JFNA's history. You have the opportunity to rally your Board to great achievements and to transformational change...but you must begin -- NOW.

Please, Mark, don't blow it.

Warm regards,




Anonymous said...

Richard, real sincerity. Nice try but Iwill wager not only won't you hear from Wilf, that "meh" you described will continue, it's now baked in.

Anonymous said...

Nice letter but does Jerry allow Mark Wilf to read this blog?
Lets hope the message gets through and that this lay leader really intends to LEAD!