SHALOM AUSTIN SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Chief Executive Officer
A fifth-generation Houstonian, Rabbi Septimus has been in Austin since 2014, serving as Texas Hillel Executive Director for just over two years and now as CEO of Shalom Austin since September 2016, the hub of Jewish life in Central Texas. Before coming to Austin, Rabbi Septimus served at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the largest Jewish congregation in the Pacific Northwest for seven years as Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregation Learning where he brought a holistic approach to congregational learning. Rabbi Septimus graduated from Tulane University in 2002 and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2007. He has also been awarded the prestigious Hartman and Schusterman Fellowships.
Rabbi Amy B. Cohen
Chief Social Services Officer/Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service Executive Director
Rabbi Cohen comes to Shalom Austin from Temple Beth Shalom where she had served as associate rabbi since 2012. Rabbi Cohen is also a Licensed Master Social Worker who is no stranger to Jewish Family Service. She served on its committee for the past 8 years. Throughout her career, Cohen has focused on social service work. Raised in Sudbury, Massachusetts, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work with a double major in Jewish history and civilization and a Master of Arts degree in social work from New York University. Cohen also earned master of religious education and master in Hebrew letters degrees from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She completed her ordination as a rabbi at HUC-JIR in New York. Cohen received her license in social work from the state of Texas. Rabbi Cohen is also the executive diretor of Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service.
Janet S. Elam
Chief Operating Officer
Janet returned to Shalom Austin as COO in January 2020 after nearly fifteen years at JCC Association, serving as Chief Experience Officer and before that as Senior Vice President for community consultation and executive leadership. Janet worked with 160 JCCs throughout North America and managed the agency’s executive leadership programs, focusing on first-time JCC executive directors. Janet moved to Austin in 2000 when the Dell Jewish Community Campus opened and served as the first COO, after spending 20 years at the JCC in Cincinnati, starting her career as a resident camp director and concluding her tenure there as executive director. Janet has a degree in sociology from Brandis University and she and her husband have three adult children.
Chief Financial Officer
Nicole joined Shalom Austin in January 2020 as CFO. Previously, she was VP, Controller of Trellis Company, a large non-profit specializing in assisting student borrowers successfully repay their student loans and promoting access and success in higher education. Prior to moving into the non-profit industry, Nicole’s career was in public accounting, first with PricewaterhouseCoopers where she specialized in audits of mid-sized banking, energy, technology and healthcare companies, and then with DK Partners, when she focused on internal audits and compliance. Nicole has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Texas A&M University and a Master’s in Accountancy from Texas State University. Nicole is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Senior Marketing & Communications Director/Editor-in-Chief
Wendy Goodman grew up in Austin and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas. Wendy then moved to New York City where she achieved her master’s degree and took positions in advertising with Saatchi & Saatchi, marketing and PR with GfK, journalism with NY Daily News, and videography and teaching at Brooklyn College. Wendy has been awarded for her video documentary work, served as co-chair of the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) young executives board, participated in Young Jewish Professionals (YJP), hosted and produced programs on commercial and indie radio, and volunteered with Holocaust survivors. With over 15 years experience in media and marketing, Wendy currently holds two positions at Shalom Austin as Senior Marketing & Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief / Publisher of The Jewish Outlook newspaper and Shalom Austin annual magazines.
Senior Development Director
Born and raised in Austin, Amy is passionate about building and deepening relationships while growing philanthropic revenue streams to support Jewish life in her hometown, in Israel and across the globe. During her 7 years at Shalom Austin and in her role as Senior Development Director, she is developing strategies to address funding priorities through major gifts and work with the Jewish Foundation to support legacy and endowment initiatives. Prior to arriving at Shalom Austin, Amy worked at JDRF, raising funds for type 1 diabetes research and connecting families affected by the disease. She also worked in the development department at Meals on Wheels and More after receiving her Masters of Public Affairs with a focus on nonprofit management at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her career began as an outreach worker at Insure-a-kid, helping families enroll in CHIP and Medicaid. When Amy is not working, she loves spending time with her husband, Gerry and daughter, Lou as well as her sisters, niece, nephews and parents who all reside in Austin.
Chief People Officer
Matt grew up in New England and moved to Austin in the Spring of 2022. In his most recent role as the Director of Human Resources at United Heritage Credit Union, Matt assumed responsibility overseeing HR operations and the strategic direction of talent acquisition efforts. Before making his move to Austin, Matt served as the VP of People and Culture at Kensington Investment Company, a real estate investment firm with operations spanning Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Utah. In this capacity, he collaborated closely with ownership to shape the company’s culture and advance leadership development initiatives. Matt holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Southern New Hampshire University and an MBA from Texas A&M. Matt also is an active member and holds his certified professional designation from the Society of Human Resources Management. Matt loves to spend his free time with his three dog’s Jack, Archie and Zoey and exploring new coffee shops in the Austin area.
Chief Learning and Engagement Officer
Rachel holds a Masters degrees from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Jewish Education and Jewish Non-Profit Management. Rachel has worked in the Jewish non-profit world for over twenty years serving Federations, Synagogues, Seminaries and beyond. Rachel most notably served as the first full time Director of Education for the Goldring Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life for over 13 years and recently became the Inaugural Director of the Rapoport Center and the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer for Shalom Austin. Rachel and her husband Scott are parents of 4 college students, Gabe, Lainey, Maddie and Charlie.
BOARD LEADERSHIP 2023-2024
Chair: Seth Halpern
Treasurer/Secretary: Steve Meyers
Immediate Past Chair: Rick Rosenberg
Eric Abrahams (AJA)
Rabbi Daniel Septimus (CEO)
Nicole Gilger (CFO)
Linda Millstone (DJCC)
Brad Stein (Generations)
Susannah Waite (YAD)