Kimberley Gillan-Shafron has joined the Mandel Jewish Community Center as vice president of marketing and communications.
“Because of the work that the JCC does in the community, it really was a job that appealed to me,” Gillan-Shafron said.
Gillan-Shafron has served as vice president of customer experience and marketing for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, as well as director of marketing for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She also previously worked with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as the organization’s marketing manager and as a book fair consultant for Scholastic Book Fairs.
“I’ve had a really weird combination of careers, but exciting stuff,” she said.
She was not actively looking to leave her most recent role at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad but a friend forwarded the Mandel JCC job posting, describing it as ‘the perfect job’ for her.
“My husband jokes that between natural history, children’s books, trains and buses, I’m every little boy’s dream,” Gillan-Shafron said with a laugh.
Her start date was Oct. 16 but she began participating in the Mandel JCC’s programs when she and her husband became engaged about 20 years ago.
Gillan-Shafron initially moved to Cleveland from Geneva, Switzerland, when she was 15 years old.
“I moved away a couple of times, but still keep coming back,” she said. “Cleveland is an amazing place to raise kids.”
Now the Catholic mother of Jewish children, Gillan-Shafron described the Mandel JCC as “a place where a mom like me could come with her kids and learn how to parent Jewish children.
“Right now in the world, we really need organizations like the (JCC) to build community, to help people learn how to communicate ... in a safe environment, and learn about culture and traditions and have some fun while doing it,” she continued. “Not to mention, keeping fit and all of that.”
Gillan-Shafron is a huge fan of the JCC’s book and film festivals and said the organization always has something interesting going on.
“I think this is an exciting time,” she added. “I think this organization plays a big role in how people learn more and see the Jewish community, and they do an excellent job.”