The success of The Jewish Federation depends largely on our leadership team of professionals and volunteers. This group works to meet the needs of our community by providing resources and raising support as needed.
- Richard V. Sandler – Chairman of the Board
- Leslie E. Bider – Vice Chair of the Board
- Jonathan Cookler – Vice Chair of the Board
- S. Alan Rosen – Valley Alliance Chair
- Sharon L. Janks – General Campaign Chair
- Lynn Bider – Sylvia Weisz Women's Campaign Chair
- Jill Namm – Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair
- Jim Felton – Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair
- Ellen Brown – Valley Alliance Women’s Department Chair
- Ellen Silverman – Valley Alliance Women’s Campaign Chair
- Jay Sanderson – President & CEO
- Andrew Cushnir – Executive Vice President – Chief Programming Officer
- Carol Koransky – Executive Vice President and Executive Director Valley Alliance
- Nancy Sacks – Executive Vice President – Chief Development Officer
- Ivan Wolkind – Chief Operating and Financial Officer
Richard V. Sandler
Chairman of the Board
Richard Sandler is executive vice president and a trustee of the Milken Family Foundation. Richard is also a partner in the law firm of Maron and Sandler which specializes in business restructurings and acquisitions, securities transactions and real estate. He has been an investor for over 25 years, including acting as the managing partner of various partnerships investing in securities, commercial and industrial real estate projects, and other business transactions. He serves on the boards of directors of a number of companies that he is involved with including KU Education, Inc., Knowledge Schools, Inc., and Heron International Limited—an international real estate company. He also serves, and has in the past served, on numerous community and nonprofit boards.
In addition to being the Chairman of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Mr. Sandler serves on the boards of directors of the American Jewish University, Valley Beth Shalom, Milken Community High School, the University of California at Berkeley Foundation, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Milken Institute. He is a member of the State Bar of California, graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, and received his law degree from UCLA Law School.
Leslie E. Bider
Vice Chair of the Board
Leslie E. Bider is the Chief Executive Officer of PinnacleCare, a private health advisory firm. Prior to PinnacleCare, Les served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Warner/Chappell Music for almost three decades.
After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting at U.S.C., he obtained his Masters Degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Les went on to practice public accounting and was the Managing Partner of Bider & Montgomery, a local CPA firm.
In addition to his current role as Vice Chair of the Board at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Les serves on both the Board and Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation’s of North America (JFNA). He is also an alumnus of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, serves on the board of the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, and is active in Stephen S. Wise Temple. He has been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Recording Industry and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Les and his wife Lynn have two children, as well as two adorable grandchildren.
Vice Chair of the Board
Jonathan Cookler was born, raised and continues to reside in the San Fernando Valley where he was Bar Mitzvahed and confirmed at Adat Ari El—formerly Valley Jewish Community Center.
After graduating from Birmingham High School, he attended UCLA where he successively received a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting, a Masters of Business Administration, and a Juris Doctor in Law. He became a member of the California Bar immediately thereafter.
Upon graduating from law school, Jonathan worked at Gillespie Furniture Company, a family-owned business which was the largest manufacturer of case goods and waterbeds on the West Coast. He became the company's president in 1975.
After selling the company in 1983, he became involved in commercial and industrial real estate development and management and is now president of Avalon Investment Co.
Even as a young professional, Jonathan was actively involved in the Jewish community of Los Angeles. He joined the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet, which is sponsored by The Jewish Federation, and began a lifelong commitment to the Federation's programs and community. Jonathan has served on and chaired many committees, projects and events, ultimately serving as president of the Valley Alliance of The Jewish Federation. Jonathan also serves on the Executive Committee of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where he has chaired several committees including The Council on Jewish Life, Planning and Allocations, Budget and the Finance Committee. He now serves as the Vice Chairman of The Jewish Federation.
Jonathan is also proud to serve on the Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League, for which he chaired and has been the honoree of the ADL El Caballero Golf Tournament, as well as chairing the Annual ADL Dinner. Accompanied by his wife Faith, he has also participated in a number of global ADL Leadership missions.
Jonathan has been actively involved as a member of Valley Beth Shalom, serving on the Board of Directors as Facilities Chair, then as a member of the Board of Governors.
S. Alan Rosen
Valley Alliance Chair
For almost 35 years Alan Rosen, a corporate/securities attorney, has specialized in the representation of banks and bank holding companies, including the corporate, securities and administrative law aspects of such representation. He has been actively involved in mergers and acquisitions, bank formations, stock and debt offerings, both public and private, as well as the representation of underwriters in financial institution-related offerings. Alan also handles general corporate representation.
As a longtime supporter of our Federation since the mid-1980s, Alan has served in many leadership capacities, most recently as a Director and the Vice Chair of Finance for the Valley Alliance. He has also served as the Federation’s Chair of Planning & Allocations, Chair of the Legal Division and Vice Chair of the Business & Professions Division.
Alan is currently a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors, Chair of the Budget Committee, and serves on the Finance & Administration and Executive Committees. Alan is, and has always been, an outstanding solicitor for the Federation’s Annual Campaign.
Alan and his wife, Judy, a Lion of Judah and member of the Valley Alliance Women’s Board, reside in Tarzana and have two children, Matt and Rebecca, who is married to Laurent.
Sharon L. Janks
General Campaign Chair
Sharon L. Janks was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She worked in retail merchandising in a specialized gifts and drug store chain, before immigrating to Los Angeles in 1978. In Los Angeles, Sharon has served as Vice President of Kehillat Ma'arav synagogue and Campaign Chair of Annual Giving for Milken Community School. She is also an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program.
Sharon is a past member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet and has chaired six missions to Israel. She is a board member of Jewish Federations of North America, National Women's Philanthropy and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Within The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Sharon has served as the Women’s Campaign Chair, Premier Philanthropy Chair, Major Gifts Chair, and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Israel & Overseas pillar. Currently, Sharon is the Federation’s General Campaign Chair and serves on its Executive Board.
She is married to Leon Janks and is the mother of three adult children.
Sylvia Weisz Women's Campaign Chair
Lynn Bider is the 2011Sylvia Weisz Women’s Campaign Chair for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. During her long history of involvement with our Federation, Lynn has held many top leadership positions within the Women’s Campaign, including Chai/Emerald/Zahav Chair and Hillcrest Women’s Chair. Additionally, Lynn has served as King David Society Co-Chair with her husband, Les.
In addition to her work with our Federation, Lynn has also held many leadership roles in the community including President of Stephen S. Wise Temple. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Foundation and Beit T’Shuvah.
A native of Los Angeles, Lynn graduated from UCLA. Lynn and Les have a son and a daughter, and two adorable grandchildren.
Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair
Jill Namm is the Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair, serving with Jim Felton. Her immediate past leadership role was a two-year term as Valley Alliance Women's Department President and prior to that position she served as Women's Campaign Chair.
Always active in her children's school, Jill was looking for a greater level of involvement within the community. She was introduced to the Federation when invited for coffee at the home of Rochelle Cohen more than 15 years ago. Jill started off hosting outreach activities, and before long she was asked to be on the Women's Department Board.
Today, she continues her work for the Federation, inspired by the powerful leaders with whom she works on a daily basis and by the concept that she is helping to make a difference for others. The Federation gave Jill the opportunities to give back to the community, and today she is an integral part of its work.
Jill lives in Encino with her husband Steven. They have three children; Rachel, Rebecca, and Michael; and one granddaughter, Olivia.
James R. Felton
Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair
Jim Felton is Managing Partner of Greenberg & Bass LLP. Jim practices in the areas of business, commercial and real estate litigation, receiverships, and insolvency-related matters. He routinely handles business dissolution matters, shareholder, partner and guarantor disputes, breach of contract matters, asset recovery issues, and collections related to structured settlement payments. He is also experienced in appellate matters, and has contributed his expertise to numerous publications and law journals.
Past leadership positions at the Valley Alliance include Chair, Jewish Community Relations Committee and Major Gifts Chair. He was also a recipient of the Jules Ratner Leadership Award of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; a member of the Board of Directors of The Jewish Federation and a member of the Board of the Federation's Young Leadership Division. He was also a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet.
Jim has also volunteered for the Alliance for Children's Rights, providing pro bono adoption counsel and was a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Task Force on Special Education.
Valley Alliance Women's Department Chair
Ellen Brown is the Women’s Department Chair for The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance. She has held numerous positions on the Valley Alliance Women's Department Board and most recently served as the Lion of Judah Vice President. Ellen is looking forward to leading a strong 2010 campaign, as the needs of the community are great and growing. She hopes to educate more women about the strength of the Federation's community and inspire them to make it even stronger by joining.
Ellen first became involved with Federation in the late 1980s after attending the San Fernando Valley Women’s Division Dor Chadash program, which educated women about the work of the Federation. She loves traveling to Israel and has been four times, including once with the Federation’s Tel Aviv/Los Angeles partnership as part of her daughter’s day school delegation, and once on a Valley Women’s Mission.
Ellen also serves on the Executive Board of Camp Ramah and served as the Co-President of the Valley Beth Shalom Day School Parent Organization. To Ellen, "Only Federation" means that The Jewish Federation presents the greatest opportunity to bring our community together; we are uniquely positioned to partner with other organizations to maximize our efforts for the benefit of the entire community.
Ellen grew up in Encino, graduated from Birmingham High School and UCLA. She and her husband, Jeff, have three children, Matthew, Jonathan and Emily, and live in Tarzana.
Valley Alliance Women's Campaign Chair
Ellen Silverman first became involved with The Jewish Federation more than 20 years ago when, after a discussion with Rochelle Cohen in the Adat Ari El Early Childhood Center kitchen, she was invited to participate in the Valley Alliance Women's Department Dor Chadash program. Soon after, impressed with the scope of the Federation's work assisting those in need, Ellen joined the Women's Department Board.
Since then, she has held numerous positions within the Valley Alliance Women's Department, including serving as Vice President of Community Development, Innovative Outreach and Lion of Judah. Ellen has been privileged to travel on all of the Women's Department missions to Israel since 1999, and feels that seeing the impact Federation dollars have made in Israel first-hand is an incomparable experience.
In addition to her work with the Federation, Ellen has served on the Board of the Jewish Home for the Aging and is a past chair of the Family Violence Project's Friends of the Shelter. She has served as both Sisterhood President as well as President of Adat Ari El.
Ellen resides in Encino and is the proud mother of two daughters, Jordan and Bailey.
President & CEO
Jay Sanderson is President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and is responsible for its tremendous transformation. He has been professionally active in the Jewish community for twenty-seven years and offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in new and old media as well as evolving communications technologies. Jay is recognized as one of America’s leading entrepreneurs and has over 30 years of experience transforming non-profit organizations, and was named to the Forward 50 list.
Formerly, Jay was the CEO and Executive Producer of Jewish Television Network (JTN). Sanderson created, produced and wrote over 700 hours of award-winning television programming. Jay was the creator and Executive Producer of the PBS landmark series, The Jewish Americans, and of the epic genocide documentary, Worse Than War. In 2007, he led JTN’s broadband Initiative, JewishTVNetwork.com, the only fully Jewish video website on the internet, attracting over 1.75 million unique visitors and hosting the largest Kol Nidre service ever.
Jay lives in Encino, California, and is married to Laura Lampert Sanderson. They have two children, Jonah and Isabelle.
Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer
Andrew is The Jewish Federation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer. In this capacity, he is part of the senior management team and oversees all of the Federation’s programmatic and allocations activities in Los Angeles, Israel and internationally.
He previously served as the head of the Federation’s community relations and social services efforts, the Planning & Allocations Department and in its campaign department as Director of Business Divisions and New Business Initiatives.
Before becoming a full-time Jewish community professional, Andrew practiced law at Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips and in the in-house department of SunAmerica Inc. At SunAmerica, he also was the Director of Public Affairs. Prior to law school Andrew participated in the Coro Fellowship Program, was a Legislative Fellow with the California State Assembly, and served as an assistant director in the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles office.
While practicing law, he was an active Jewish community and civic volunteer leader. He was involved in the design and implementation of The Jewish Federation’s Access young leadership program and later served as Chair of the Federation’s Leadership Development Council, which brought together all of the young leadership programs under the Federation’s banner. He was in the 1997-1999 Los Angeles class of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, as well as a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet for the Jewish Federations of North America.
He has been active in Adat Shalom synagogue where he served as President and Chairman of the Board. Andrew has also served in a number of leadership capacities on the board of the environmental organization, TreePeople.
Andrew is married to Sharon Spira-Cushnir, a nonprofit executive. They live in West Los Angeles with their two children.
Executive Vice President and Executive Director Valley Alliance
Carol is Executive Vice President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Executive Director of its Valley Alliance. In that capacity Carol is responsible for a region of Los Angeles whose Jewish population is burgeoning and which currently stands at approximately 250,000 Jews and an Annual Campaign of $9 million.
Prior to her current role, Carol was Senior Vice President for Policy, Planning and Community Development at the Federation, which had responsibility for local and international allocations and for the Jewish Community Relations Committee. Carol was also Planning & Allocations Director for 8 years. Carol has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from American Jewish University and she has served as Co-Chair of the American Jewish University’s Alumni Association. Carol has lectured on community organizational skills and the structure of the American Jewish community for the Ziegler School of Rabbinics, the American Jewish University’s MBA Program, and has served on the Hebrew Union College Field Faculty. She has served as Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Planner’s Group and as a Board member of the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California. Carol has also participated in the Jewish Federations of North America’s Executive Development Program conducted by the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence.
American Jewish University awarded Carol its Management Alumni Award, the Jerry Greenberg Memorial Award for Community Service and the Mickey Weiss Alumni Award. Carol is also the recipient of the Alan J. Kassin Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement and the Mark Meltzer Award for Innovative Programs for her collaboration on the creation of The Safe Spot, given by the Jewish Communal Professionals Association of Southern California.
Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer
Nancy Sacks came on board with The Jewish Federation as our Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer on June 1, 2011.
Her ties to both the Los Angeles philanthropic community and the Jewish community are long and deep and she has traveled seamlessly between them over the course of her career. Prior to moving to L.A., Nancy spent nine years in New York working for the Jewish Board of Children’s Services.
From 1989 to 1999, Nancy worked at UCLA as an Administrative Director of Departments in the David Geffen School of Medicine.
From 2000 to 2011, Nancy led a Medical Sciences development team that saw a 50% growth in annual support from an average of $120 million annually to the current average of $180 million. Nancy worked with Dr. Gerald Levey to raise close to $300 million to support the construction of the exquisite Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which opened in 2009. She also successfully concluded Campaign UCLA with $1.7 billion raised for the medical sciences. She was a trusted collaborator with scores of physicians and department chairmen and immensely respected and valued advisor to Dr. Eugene Washington, when he took over the helm of the UCLA Health Sciences enterprise in 2011.
Nancy’s service to UCLA was not limited to the Medical Sciences. Beginning in 2006, she performed a dual role as Executive Director of Women and Philanthropy at UCLA. In 2011, Women in Philanthropy celebrated the milestone of raising $100 million since it was formed in 1994, due in no small part to Nancy’s engagement with the program.
Nancy lives in Santa Monica and has been married for 35 years to Bill Sacks. They have two grown children, Rachel and Daniel.
Chief Operating and Financial Officer
With twenty years of experience in finance and operations, Wolkind’s goal is to help steer the Federation toward a sound financial future, allowing it to make an even greater impact in the local community, Israel and around the world. His experience in finance and operations within the for-profit sector, both domestically and internationally, provide the external perspective to help the Federation operate more efficiently.
Prior to the Federation, Wolkind has served as Chief Financial Officer and in other leadership positions with publically and privately held companies, primarily in the technology arena. Most recently he was CFO and COO at Cosmic Toast Studios, a content development company for film and television. Previously, he served as CFO at Destination Rx, Inc. – a firm that licenses software to the federal government, health insurance carriers and other clients. He’s also provided consulting services to financial investor groups.
Wolkind is a native of the United Kingdom, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Keele University in England, and then going on to earn the status of Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in London which is the equivalent of our CPA certification. In addition to Wolkind’s professional accomplishments, he is actively involved in the Jewish community. He is currently the voluntary Treasurer/CFO of Harkam Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills. Past philanthropic roles include serving as an Executive Board member of B’nai David Judea Congregation in Los Angeles and Treasurer of Congregation Emek Beracha in Palo Alto.