Susan Laxer

President, Federation CJA, 2013-2015

1. How did you get involved with Federation CJA, and why?

My early involvement with Federation CJA was on multiple levels. After finishing university I joined the Federation CJA’s budget and planning committee for the social service, employment and immigrant aid agencies (which have since merged into Ometz). I was impressed with the breadth and depth of services provided and the ability and dedication of the professionals who carried out their work.

Shortly after, the President of the Women’s Division of Federation CJA invited me to be part of a small group creating a Career Women's Network. This initiative provided an opportunity to meet with many interesting working women, to hear speakers on topics of interest, to network with others and to be involved in wonderful philanthropic projects.
My husband, Alain and I became annual Federation CJA campaign canvassers, went on Yachdav (a young leadership mission to Israel), and soon after Alain became chair of the YAD campaign. And so, within a short time, we were deeply involved.

2. What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?

The people who I have worked with: Caring, smart, creative, people who are motivated to do good.

3. Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?

Many moments:

Missions to Israel, and feeling part of the land and our heritage; meeting with people who have benefitted from philanthropy, hearing their stories and seeing the impact of Federation CJA dollars at work here and in Israel; representing Montreal and Federation, locally, nationally, in Israel in other countries; the many people who I met advocating for and in pursuing the interests of Federation and the well-being of the Montreal Jewish community.

4. What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?

Find passion in what you do. Look for the good in what can be achieved. Be a part of a very dynamic, special community. Giving of yourself, your time and your dollars to community will bring friendships, personal growth and satisfaction from helping others. In your unique way, you can make a positive difference, which directly or indirectly benefits another person. It also makes this community stronger and more vibrant. You can always find some time for something worthwhile.

5. What is your legacy?

Working on the creation of a strategic plan for Federation CJA for the next 5 years, including new initiatives to be launched in order to pursue Federation's mission, and to secure the future of the community.

As President I promoted an environment which fosters integrity and respect for all people and for all points of view; and built a strong, resilient, optimistic Board of Directors who are committed to the well being and vitality of the community and of the Jewish people.

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