Nancy Gale, former president of Temple Sinai and a senior manager at EQT Corporation, has been named executive director of Jewish Residential Services of Pittsburgh. Gale, who holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the Wharton School of Business, assumed the role Oct. 10.
“After an exhaustive and highly competitive search, Nancy Gale was hired because of her outstanding background and work in both private industry and the Jewish Community,” Gerri Sperling, co-chair of the JRS search committee, said in a statement.
Throughout the course of Gale’s nearly 30-year career in the private sector, she served as director of corporate credit at EQT, managing director at BNY Mellon and commercial lending officer at Toronto Dominion Bank. In joining JRS, Gale will have her first crack at Jewish professional life.
“I had been thinking about transitioning to the nonprofit sector for a long time,” and JRS, because of its “great” reputation, provided a welcome chance, she noted.
Prior to officially beginning, Gale met with members of the organization’s board of directors to better determine “what they’re like,” she explained. “The biggest issue is that the organization wants to grow and is trying to figure out how they will do that. I think that’s a lot of what I will be turning my attention to while I’m there.”
“JRS has many opportunities for new and revolutionary programming and greater inclusiveness within the community right now,” said Judy Cohen, president of JRS’ board, in a statement. “We are on the cusp of exciting and seminal changes, embarking on a journey that we call JRS 2.0. We need an executive director who understands the organization and can lead us into the next phase of development and care for our sensitive and deserving client base.”
Gale believes completion of the Seymoure and Corinne Krause Commons will be key to achieving the board’s objectives. The multi-story building, situated on the former Poli’s restaurant space, will house JRS’ administrative offices, an expanded Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse and 33 affordable housing units, “half of which are slated for those with intellectual and/or mental health disabilities,” according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.
“I think it’s a very visible symbol of an initiative that JRS could raise the money and that they partnered with Action Housing to bring it about,” said Gale. “JRS has not always been that visible. It’s been well thought of but not many people knew a lot about it. This is an opportunity to spread that word.”
Construction of the site is nearing its end, and “my understanding is that the people who have been assigned the apartments will be able to move in in December, and our offices will be able to move in in January,” she added.
While a completed Krause Commons will demonstrate JRS’ progress, less publicly discernible details, such as professional development, will also guide the organization forward, explained its new executive director.
“When I was at Temple Sinai it was a period of a lot of change at the synagogue, and I think I was able to manage in a way that made the institution stronger,” said Gale.
While serving as president, from 2015 to 2017, the executive director and two members of Temple Sinai’s clergy resigned. Gale said she worked with the temple’s board in creating “a very transparent process” on informing the congregation “how we were going to deal with that and fill those positions.”
“At the same time we also launched a new funding model and went to a voluntary dues system,” she added. “It was a big change, but it’s been really successful.”
Gale is confident she can bring such skills to JRS.
This is “another organization that wants to change,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to getting started.” PJC