Submitted by JCGC

Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati has selected Susan Susskind as the organization’s new Executive Director. Ms. Susskind’s responsibilities include all aspects of daily operations, financial oversight, staffing, planning, board coordination and public communication for Jewish Cemeteries, which administers 25 local Jewish cemeteries. Her duties officially began July 10.

“I am honored that Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati has selected me for the role of Executive Director, and for the opportunity to work with such a talented and motivated team and board,” said Ms. Susskind, who succeeds David Harris as executive director. Mr. Harris departed leadership of Jewish Cemeteries in February to serve as Chief Development Officer of Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Jewish Cemeteries Board President Ray Warren expressed confidence in the organization’s selection. “Sue brings considerable and valuable skills to JCGC. She spent several years as director of independent living facilities, displaying effective leadership skills in managing budgets, programming, staff, strategic planning and sales. I feel that under her leadership, Jewish Cemeteries will not miss a beat, and grow.”

An executive search committee met multiple times weekly beginning in late February, first to outline the job roles in detail and then to consider candidates. Headed by Mr. Warren, the search team included JCGC’s first Executive Director David Hoguet, past Board President Jan Armstrong Cobb, Interim Executive Director Richard Barasch, Board Vice President Karen Zanger, and Board member Amy Shaiman. “Jewish Vocational Service was invaluable in handling vast aspects of our executive search,” said Warren. “They were highly organized and responsive to our questions day to day, week to week, as we first expanded and then finally narrowed our search.” The committee made their selection after over three months of work.

Ms. Susskind’s July onboarding was led by Richard Barasch, an involved and capable JCGC board member with relevant professional experience who began his interim leadership role in March. Said Mr. Barasch, “I cannot say enough how much help I received during the transition from our Operations Manager Carrie Rhodus, Office Manager Christine Doyle, Foreman Tim O’Connell and all the field crew. They kept our work rolling, allowing me to make progress in other areas.” Board President Ray Warren, as well as the very first Executive Director David Hoguet, have also helped orient Ms. Susskind to her responsibilities, with assists from David Harris.

Ms. Susskind expressed a strong connection to the organization’s mission. “Our goal is to honor, to remember and to serve the Jewish community of Cincinnati. I look forward to contributing to our mission, and to building our organization in the community.” She said she especially appreciates her new role because it will allow her to directly give back to the Jewish community in which she has lived all her life, but within which she has never worked professionally. 

To the job Susan Susskind brings nearly two decades’ experience in a complex variety of administrative roles related to older adult independent living, recreational programming, eldercare and developmental disabilities. In her most recent positions she oversaw large adult residential communities with extensive programs, staffs and physicals plants. Prior to that, working with the International Federation on Aging, she helped develop a “tool kit” to be used worldwide to educate about elder abuse, plus she worked in development nationally to benefit adult protective services. Other positions she has held include as director of Active Day Adult Day Center and as director of Deupree Meals on Wheels. The connecting link in all these roles, she explains, has been responding to the needs of families and individuals at emotionally vulnerable times of their lives. 

Originally from Boston, Ms. Susskind received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati and went on to complete her Masters Degree in Education from the same institution. Her early child-rearing years were spent in Columbus, and a few years later she joined the Cincinnati Jewish community. She has four adult children, three sons and a daughter (including a set of triplets), and now she counts her grandchildren on both hands. Ms. Susskind is a resident of Maineville, Ohio and is a member of Temple Sholom.