Celebrating Andrea Freedman's leadership, contributions

Federation CEO Andrea Freedman leads by example. Here she is in a photo from the height of the COVID pandemic helping to hand out masks to various Ottawa organizations.

Chair of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Ian Sherman shares a special work anniversary message for Federation CEO Andrea Freedman celebrating her leadership and numerous contributions.

Andrea Freedman, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s president & CEO marked her 9th work anniversary at Federation this month. It has always been Andrea’s custom to craft a special message for the community to mark her anniversary. This year’s message (read it here) was shared as a link inside her Shabbat greeting dedicated to the ongoing appeal for Ukraine. Andrea is a special leader. She is deeply compassionate and motivated in her efforts to support our community and Jews worldwide. The last two years of COVID, war in Israel, rising antisemitism, now war in Ukraine, means she has been on constant high alert working non-stop to ensure our community is supported and the most vulnerable and those in need are cared for.

Her efforts and hard work are worth celebrating, so I have written my own anniversary message for her.

Work anniversary messages are a simple, yet powerful, combination of well-intended and rightly chosen words aimed at cheering and motivating employees. Throughout Andrea’s professional journey, she has made it a point to celebrate and cherish employee milestones and work anniversaries to mentor and support others. Work anniversaries are more than simply milestones. They can be a game-changing factor, just as Andrea’s incredible leadership has been a game-changing factor in our community.

When Andrea interviewed for her role here at Federation, she stated that one of her goals was to create positive Jewish experiences for future generations. This is why she created the Jewish Superhighway – a metaphor for meaningful Jewish experiences and journeys where no one is left behind. Her undiminished energy and enthusiasm to work with others to create those meaningful Jewish experiences for all community members, at all stages of life, and accessible to everyone in the community, is remarkable.

Coincidentally, Andrea’s work anniversary is the same week as International Women's Day, when we honour and symbolically stand together in solidarity and support of women worldwide as we continue to dismantle barriers, break biases, accelerate social progress and create meaningful change through equity initiatives in our everyday actions.

Andrea’s efforts to create an inclusive Jewish Superhighway echoes the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #BreakTheBias. This is a call to action against gender bias, discrimination, and stereotypes. Andrea’s efforts aim to truly #BreakTheBias, by striving to lead Federation to be even more intentional about integrating equity, diversity and inclusion into our culture and our organizational strategy, creating an environment where differences are celebrated, and everyone belongs.

Andrea has helped guide many other important initiatives during her time at Federation. Among some of the recent highlights are welcoming Ottawa’s first shinshinim; the Generations Trust for Jewish education, a permanent endowment; the Jewish Experience Microgrant program; Jewish Jumpstart (an incentivized engagement program); and the Life & Legacy program, which has now secured over $14.9M in expectancies for our community.

To make all this and more happen, Andrea devotes countless hours to strategic and creative planning and to building purposeful and targeted partnerships to ensure the community’s well-being, and that all future generations will thrive.

So as we celebrate Andrea’s 9th anniversary, on behalf of all of us, I want to thank her for her hard work and diligence; for her brilliant expertise; for her essential role in Federation’s journey and success; for setting an exemplary standard for all of us with her work ethic, inspiration, passion and dedication; for her abundance of positive vibe and confidence to get things done perfectly; for her honesty, candidness and fearlessness to get the work done; for her motivation, discipline and focus; for her perseverance given all that we have faced; quite simply, for her awesome leadership.

We are deeply grateful. Andrea has given our organisation much more than effort and hard work at the job. She has given everyone at Federation and within our cherished community, the lesson of loyalty and staying motivated in the long run.

They say that work life is not a sprint; rather it’s a marathon that a person needs to keep on running to achieve one milestone after another. Believe me, Andrea is one heck of a runner and I’m trying my best to keep up! It was a blessing for our community to have come across someone of her caliber and loyalty.

Yasher Koach, Andrea!