Hecker Announced As New Federation President & CEO
After a five month national search, the Columbus Jewish Federation has chosen Gordon Hecker, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance, with an extensive background in Jewish community affairs, to serve as its next President and CEO.The Federation’s board voted unanimously to approve Hecker.
“We are thrilled to have found a person of Gordon’s caliber to lead our organization and the entire Columbus Jewish community into the future,” said Jeff Coopersmith, Federation chair. “Gordon brings us the intellect, passion, energy, collaborative skills, and the gift for communication that we were seeking in our new professional leader.”
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the Federation has placed in me,” Hecker commented. “The opportunity to be in a leadership role in one of the most innovative and forward-thinking Jewish communities in this country is the opportunity of a lifetime. I want to thank Nationwide Insurance for investing in me, which in turn, has enabled me to invest myself back into the community. I feel very privileged to be transitioning from one great organization to another.”
Hecker will succeed Marsha Hurwitz, who accepted a new position as the Chief Operating Officer at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco after 10 years as the top executive in Columbus.
Hecker has been active in the Columbus Jewish community since his arrival in 1995. He served as Board President of Congregation Beth Tikvah from 2001 – 2003 and Board President of the Columbus Jewish Day School from 2005 – 2010. He is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program and a recipient of the Therese Stern Kahn and William V. Kahn Young Leadership Award from the Columbus Jewish Federation. He is a member of the Jewish Federations of North America Executive Board and its Marketing and Nominating Committees. Hecker has been a member of the Columbus Jewish Federation’s Executive Board since 2004 and served as the Vice Chair for Jewish Education and Identity from 2004 – 2005 and as Campaign Chair from 2010-2012.
Hecker grew up in Toronto, in a Reform Jewish household. His grandparents moved to Canada in the early 1900s from Poland and Romania. His parents, Harvey and Sheila, met, married and still reside in Toronto. Hecker grew up attending Jewish day school and Jewish summer camps. He first visited Israel on a family trip in 1973 where they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the state. His parents both became involved in Yeshivat Aish Hatorah in the 1980’s and his father was its International President for 16 years. His mother served on the Board of the National Council for Jewish Women for many years and is a life-long member of Hadassah and ORT. His older brother, Joel, received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University and is Associate Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. His younger sister, Karen, lives in Toronto and has been involved in the top leadership of her synagogue for many years.
Hecker earned his B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University, and received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. He began his professional career at the Kraft Company in Montreal, before moving to San Francisco to work for the Clorox Company, where he met his wife, Donna.
Hecker worked at Specialty Brands from 1989 to 1995, before moving with his family to Powell, OH, when he accepted a position as the Vice President of Marketing at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Hecker was promoted to Senior Vice President of Marketing in 1999. In 2004, Hecker took on a new role as Vice President- Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide Financial Services. Over the next eight years, Hecker worked on many of Nationwide's most important businesses and was promoted to Senior Vice President. Currently he is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing with responsibility for Brand Identity & Creative Services, Digital Marketing and Marketing Operations & Technology.
The search committee that found Hecker was authorized in March of 2012 and chaired by former Federation Board Chair Michael Canter. Canter hired the DRG Executive Search firm. This nationally-renowned firm surfaced over 30 candidates for the position. Canter was joined on the committee by a group of executives, professionals, religious and volunteer leaders who represented the full spectrum of the Jewish community. They were: Rick Barnett, Robin Bernstein, Jennifer Cammeyer, Jeff Coopersmith, Jenny Glick, Steven Schottenstein, Ezra Singer, Joy Soll, Steve Tuckerman, Miriam Yenkin and Rabbi Howard Zack.
Canter said the qualities the committee was seeking in the new leader included not only a deep commitment to the Jewish people and the work of the Federation, but also the ability to:
• Develop and execute a strategic plan;
• Connect with the community's various constituencies;
• Motivate the next generation; and
• Articulate a vision and inspire others to follow
“Gordon is typical of an increasing number of accomplished business executives who, after achieving great success both in business and as a community volunteer, believe they can achieve even more good by devoting their full energy and talent to their true passion,” said Canter. “We are extraordinarily fortunate that Gordon has made that decision and commitment to our community.”
Hecker is married to Donna Hecker, who is a full-time volunteer working in graphic arts for the Bexley Theater Department and the Columbus Jewish Day School. Gordon and Donna have three children: Emily, 20, a senior at Ohio State University; Isaac (18) an incoming freshman at the University of Michigan; and Kendall (14) a 9th-grader at Bexley High School.