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Name: Jeff Laks
Profession: Engineering Consultant
I’m was born and raised in Montreal, but came to Ottawa in 1981 after graduation from McGill University to work at Mitel. My wife Linda, who was also born and raised in Montreal, and I have three married children and one granddaughter living in Toronto and Seattle. I love to travel, which is a pre-requisite when your wife is a travel agent. I’m an avid (ebook) reader and am addicted to the New York Times Sunday Crossword. I love to prepare gourmet kosher meals for my family and friends and make delicious (so I’ve been told) smoked briskets, turkeys and trout on my Big Green Egg. I also make my own hard apple cider.
How long have you been on the board?
Since September 2019.
Why did you join the board?
Certainly, the opportunity to influence community-wide rather than individual organization issues and initiatives was intriguing to me. Additionally, I felt that I might provide a unique perspective to the board, having not grown up in Ottawa and having taken a less traditional career path for a Jew. With a background in engineering/computer science and many years in high tech senior management and independent consulting, I bring a different approach to problem solving and analysis compared to other professionals. I believe that having a diversity of life experiences and opinions on the board is critical to achieving the best decisions for the greater community.
My family has benefited greatly from the institutions and services supported by the Federation. Hillel Academy, JCC sports leagues & day camp, BBYO, Camp B’nai Brith and Hillel Lodge were there when we needed them. I would like to do what I can to ensure that Jewish institutions and services are there for future generations.
My strategic area of concern: Increasing Jewish engagement
I feel that I can most contribute to increasing Jewish engagement. I’ve joined the Grants & Allocations committee with a goal to assess and improve existing practices that support diverse Jewish programs/services and to identify opportunities to promote greater collaboration between agencies/groups as well as with Federation in order to maximize the impact of donor campaign contributions.
What is your favourite aspect of the Ottawa Jewish community?
My favourite aspect of Ottawa, which applies to the Jewish community as well, is that there’s such a broad range of cultural, sporting and educational facilities a relatively short distance away, no matter where you live.