Jewish Family and Children’s Service taps Brown as new CEO

Jewish Family and Children’s Service taps Brown as new CEOHeidi Brown - JFCS - CEOSARASOTA, Fla. — The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Suncoast, Inc. (, the multi-county premier multi-function social service nonprofit, has selected Heidi Brown as its new CEO.

Brown, formerly the CEO of Aviva (previously Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson), has a thorough and dedicated history in the social and human services fields. Beginning on Feb. 1, 2017, Brown will lead a team of 86 full-time and 27 part-time staff members, 25 contractors and 473 volunteers at Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS).

“We are thrilled that our search committee, comprised of board members and senior community leaders, secured the strongest and most qualified applicant, who was already here doing important work in the community,” said Stephen Seidensticker, chairman of the board of directors at JFCS. “Heidi is the perfect person to fill this role with her broad-based community support, life-long dedication to helping others and vast experience building engagement in communities. We look forward to collaborating closely with Aviva and Randy Mallitz, Aviva’s board chairman, to serve this community.”

In her new role, Brown will focus on growing collaborative community partnerships, increasing the range of services offered and working to raise the visibility of the organization. A former breast cancer survivor, she has a unique perspective and will work proactively on streamlining and increasing services offered to cancer survivors and their families as part of JFCS’ new Cancer Support and Wellness Program. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The State University of New York and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

“Our main goal was to ensure that through the search committee’s extensive range of perspectives and vision, we secured someone with a unique understanding of our past who could also take us to a higher level and move the organization forward in the future,” said Joe Mendels, immediate past board chair at JFCS.

While at Aviva, Brown is credited with providing strong, visible leadership among staff and throughout the community, building a new executive team and establishing collaborative partnerships, increasing services and strategically repositioning the organization with a board-approved new branding initiative.

“One of Heidi’s greatest strengths is her ability to form deep connections with people,” said Mallitz. “The resulting relationships engender productive teams and long-term partnerships, which are key to enhancing the quality of life for those she serves. We are confident she will bring these essential skills to JFCS and wish her great success as our two organizations collaborate more closely to support seniors and the Jewish and Sarasota/Manatee communities.”

In September 2016, the organization announced former CEO Rose Chapman’s transition to CEO emerita, a role specifically created for her. She will continue to work with the JFCS board to ensure the organization’s fiscal sustainability and security moving forward.

“I am extremely humbled to have been chosen for this important role, which allows me to continue my life’s work and fulfill my passion for building relationships, helping people and engaging in vital connections to improve the community,” said Brown. “While I look forward to continuing to work closely with seniors and Aviva, this is a tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact on the entire community, broadening my scope of influence to the continuum of services that JFCS provides. To work with an organization with such an established, impeccable reputation that serves so many people is a dream come true. I also look forward to working with Rose to continue her important legacy.”

Over the past two decades, JFCS has grown from a $200,000 agency to an $8.5 million agency, with a staff of 114, 16 office sites and a range of services including over 25 programs that offers assistance to more than 15,000 individuals within the Sarasota and Manatee communities.