Neil Rosenbaum, the new chair of the Federation Board of Directors, grew up in Gloversville, NY. He graduated from Union College and went to work for Xerox in Syracuse where, on his first day, he met Debbie, who was to become his wife. Five years later, he got his MBA from Syracuse and a position with GE. Ten years and four children later, GE decided to move his division to Indianapolis, but Neil and Debbie were determined to raise their family in Syracuse. They were members of Temple Adath and their kids were at the day school and having a fantastic experience.
Three years later, on the day that Neil and Debbie had decided that Neil would take a position with Stanley Tools in Connecticut, he ran into Steve Goldberg who asked him what was new. Five days later, including two days of interviewing, the Goldbergs offered him a position as vice president of eCommerce. He spent fourteen years with Raymour and Flanigan, the last as senior vice president of merchandising. After three decades in corporate life, Neil decided that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and become an entrepreneur. With two partners, he launched a leadership and business development company which focuses on Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. “We are committed to being a catalyst in the reinvigoration of Upstate that is taking hold,” Neil declares.
Neil’s interest and connection to the Federation stems from his belief that Central New York is given a bad rap by residents and outsiders. He sees the area as a terrific place to live, raise a family and “age in place.” “We can’t control the weather,” he says, “but we can control how we think of what the area has to offer, the quality and values of the people and what the future holds if we work at it and believe.”
Neil joined the Federation Board because he believes that its work is essential. Once on the board, he learned more about the specific roles that the organization plays, and his commitment grew.
“I was incredibly impressed with the professional staff and the engaging, passionate and knowledgeable perspective of the board,” he remarks. “As we updated the mission and vision of the organization I was particularly driven by the words ‘works to build a strong Jewish future in Central New York and Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, engagement, education, and advocacy.’ I find that these words represent the unique role that the Federation can play in the uplifting of the community’s future.”
Neil says that he “was anxious to take on this role because of my respect and love for the community, those that have led the organization in the past, and my desire to drive positive, collaborative work among all community agencies, organizations and agendas. We have raised four children in this hometown that we chose and which welcomed us. I want to be part of ensuring that this gift is provided to as many people as possible in the future. I believe that my varied leadership roles in business and community organizations have given me the background to make a difference. I see the Federation continuing to become an ever more positive, supportive part of the future of the Central New York Jewish and greater community.”
In the short term, Neil wants to focus Federation’s efforts and resources “on recovery from the pandemic crisis and providing support to the people, agencies and organizations we serve.” In the longer term, he wants to continue to build “a collaborative, unified and forward-thinking community that is ready to adapt to the realities facing Jewish communities locally, nationally and world-wide.”