29 November 2018
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Shari Merrill to our professional team as our new Chief Impact Officer. We sat down with Shari to learn more about her background and what she’s looking forward to accomplishing in her new role.
Tell us about your background and what attracted you to the role of Federation’s Chief Impact Officer?
I’ve lived and worked in Jewish communities in Massachusetts, England, and the DC metro area. My husband and I relocated to Northern Virginia from England in 2011, and immediately searched for a community similar to the network that we had in North London. We found a diverse, active, and engaging Jewish community here. The launch of the CIO role felt like the perfect balance between my prior work experience (I was the VP of Innovation and Strategy for an education and training organization) and my passion to support the thriving local Jewish community in which my husband and I actively participate. I’m looking forward to bringing to life the goals and objectives of Federation’s strategic plan in a meaningful way.
The role of Chief Impact Officer is a new position at Federation. Tell us about what this focus on impact means for the organization.
This focus on impact is enabling Federation to continue to build, enhance, and grow relationships – both locally and abroad – through innovation and engagement. We have the opportunity to focus on trends from the recent demographic study to implement and scale new programs that will support our mission to inspire and sustain Jewish life.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for Federation at this pivotal time?
The strategic plan lays the groundwork to understand how Federation can help shape the Jewish identities of individuals and organizations in our community. There is so much momentum and energy around the shifting focus of Federation, and I’m excited to help drive that change for the organization.
What excites you about working in the Jewish communal world?
The people. The commitment and energy between the professional staff and the lay leaders is the epitome of partnership – and it’s amazing to see a group of individuals so dedicated to the mission.
What do you like to do in your time away from the office?
I love to travel and see new places. We have a rule in our house – go everywhere once before you go anywhere twice (but we break this rule…a lot!). I enjoy reading, cooking, and volunteering. I have also enjoyed participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer – a 39.3 mile walk throughout the DC Metro area to support the fight against breast cancer.