Serving on a board of directors and being of service to a non-profit organization and its community is perhaps one of the most rewarding accomplishments that a person can have. Having a passion for a cause and the drive to make a difference in our world is all that you need for success. While Joel Neuman, the current chair of ADL - Southeast, and Lauren Estrin, the incoming chair, have completely different stories, their passion for the mission of ADL is the same.
The role of the board chair for any organization is to rally the board members, assist the professional staff, and to facilitate their success. For ADL, the work involves fundraising, volunteering on committees that help to set the direction for the organization, and making connections with other community organizations to create allies in the fight against antisemitism, extremism, and hate.
Joel’s connection to ADL began in 2017 and it is uniquely personal. His grandfather came to the U.S. as a teenager in the early 1920s to escape his experiences with anti-semitism in his homeland. “I view my involvement with ADL as a means of ensuring that his experiences are not repeated by my children or grandchildren,” says Joel. “Justice for one cannot be guaranteed until justice for all is secured.” Joel accepted the chair position in 2022 and will continue his dedication to ADL for the next two years as immediate past chair of the organization. Joel takes pride in having been able to look out over the large crowds that have gathered over the past two years as ADL honored Steve Koonin and the Atlanta Hawks, as well as Ed Bastian and Delta Air Lines, both of whom have been exceptional in raising their voices in support of justice and respect for all.
Lauren, whose four grandparents were all Holocaust survivors, became aware and involved with ADL when she was nominated by legendary Atlanta lawyer, Miles Alexander, for the ADL Glass Leadership Institute. This year-long deep dive for young leaders to learn about the various parts of ADL’s mission was the catalyst for her powerful relationship with the organization. “I am very excited about being involved with our annual fundraiser, the Torch of Liberty Celebration," says Lauren. "I am looking forward to bringing in new leaders and sharing ADL’s work with the community and corporate partners.” Lauren admits, "I am excited to continue expanding our core initiatives like No Place for Hate that is currently providing an anti-bullying allyship program in over 200 schools in the greater Atlanta area." Past board chairs and members of the community have been supportive and encouraging of Lauren’s upcoming role with ADL and she is ready to take on this new challenge.
For both Joel and Lauren, accepting the position as ADL - Southeast board chair has been a pivotal moment in their respective careers and in their personal lives. They have been enriched by their service and they will continue to work together to change the future of ADL – Southeast.