FBI Honors ADL Regional Director Renee Lafair with Director’s Community Leadership Award | Shalom Austin

FBI Honors ADL Regional Director Renee Lafair with Director’s Community Leadership Award

Community News, The Jewish Outlook

Jun 22, 2021

Renee Lafair poses with Jared Lindauer, past board chair; FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Combs; and Mark Updegrove, CEO of the LBJ Foundation. Courtesy of ADL Austin.

By Angela Atlas

ADL Austin Regional Director Renee Lafair is set to receive the 2020 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for her work in Central Texas combating hate, bigotry and extremism. 

The award is presented on behalf of the director of the FBI and was created in 1990 “to honor the outstanding contributions of community leaders and organizations from around the country…for their supportive efforts in the areas of terrorism, crime, cyber, drug, gang or violence prevention and education,” according to an FBI representative.  

ADL has a longstanding relationship with the FBI across the country, and Lafair continues that tradition in Central Texas. 

“Renee is a community partner who has, time and time again, gone above and beyond to help the FBI San Antonio Division,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “She’s an influential leader not only in Austin, but in the entire region, who tirelessly serves the community around her. The outreach and education campaigns she’s spearheaded at the ADL have helped make the community safer.” 

FBI Community Outreach Specialist Rosanne Hughes explained that during Lafair’s time as regional director, “she has spearheaded numerous events for the FBI San Antonio Division to speak to Jewish leaders about hate crimes, civil rights, domestic terrorism, responses to active shooter events and physical security of houses of worship. Additionally, she consistently assists the division with referrals for outstanding candidates for the division’s programs, such as the FBI Citizens Academy. The division is grateful to Renee for the years of partnership and assistance and was pleased to select her for this prestigious award.”

Lafair has been a Central Texas leader since 2013, when she took on the role as regional director at ADL Austin. 

ADL Renee LaFair

Renee Lafair, ADL Austin Regional Director. Courtesy of ADL Austin.

Rabbi Daniel Septimus, CEO of Shalom Austin, said, “From the moment I arrived in Austin, Renee has been a tremendous partner, colleague and friend.  Renee is one of the most well-respected leaders in our community. She is an incredible resource and asset to the Jewish and greater communities, and we are stronger thanks to her exemplary leadership.” 

Lafair acts as a resource to other leaders and community members, convenes the Austin/Travis County Hate Crimes Task Force on behalf of ADL, and builds coalitions across communities, all in an effort to continue ADL’s work to fight hate in all its forms and create a safer and more inclusive Central Texas community.

Andy Dooher, Shalom Austin security director said, “Renee has a gift for creating partnerships and her Rolodex is overflowing with senior leaders at law enforcement agencies throughout the area. We are fortunate to have Renee as a partner and resource, and I happily consider her a good friend. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

ADL Austin Board Chair Lynne Stein stated, “Renee’s tireless dedication to building and sustaining this close relationship is unparalleled and serves as a reminder that by working together, our community becomes safer and stronger.”

Normally presented in Washington D.C. each spring, the 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award will be presented virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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