Board of Directors
Judaism Your Way is grateful for the leadership, wisdom, energy and support that flow from our Board of Directors.
Donald L. Sturm, Board Chair
Susan Sturm, Vice President & Treasurer
Don and Susan Sturm have a commitment to excellence in all their endeavors and a desire to leave the world a better place than they found it. These are just two attributes that have propelled Donald and Susan Sturm to positions of leadership in both the business world and in the communities they serve.
Don grew up in Brooklyn, New York and holds B.A., L.L.B., and L.L.M. (Taxation) degrees. Early professional pursuits include being a trial attorney with the Internal Revenue Service for four years and a 28 year career with Peter Kiewit Sons Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska where he attained the position of Vice-Chairman.
As the daughter of a Foreign Service officer, Susan's childhood took her many places across the country and overseas. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Economics, then accepted an appointment at the U.S. Senate as a Congressional Fellow and later studied economics at Oxford University. Her career has seen her employed by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., an international management consulting firm, as well as the U.S. Government.
Don and Sue moved to Denver in October of 1991. Their needs were not met by the traditional congregations existing in Denver and therefore they created alternate means of expressing their Jewish values. They also helped fund the last two demographic studies which both strongly indicated that there was a great need for Jewish outreach. They undertook to meet this need by creating and funding Judaism Your Way (JYW) and the hiring of staff to reach out to the community at large to provide an alternative to those who, for whatever reason, could not find satisfaction in existing congregations. JYW was conceived as a way station for those Jews who were and are seeking non-traditional ways of expressing their Jewish-ness. JYW does not seek to create a new Congregation; however it does seek to help satisfy the various needs of members of the Jewish Community by providing religious services, life cycle events, various other learning/social events and to meet its constituents on whatever road they are currently traveling on. During the last High Holy Days services approximately 1,700 people were tended to at Hudson Gardens.
In addition to their business interests, the Sturms share a common belief in the importance of giving back to the community, where they are involved in several volunteer organizations. They have invested approximately $30 million in University of Denver’s Sturm Hall, the Sturm College of Law, and numerous other endeavors to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the University. They have funded efforts to expand educational opportunities for low- income children including the start-up of approximately a dozen charter schools across Colorado and Wyoming. In the area of affordable housing they have provided capital for the development of revolving loan funds to assist low-income households with children to achieve the American dream of homeownership. In addition, they have funded a wide range of civic and cultural activities including public radio and television, the Denver Art Museum, Bravo! Vail Valley, as well as many others.
Don is a Trustee of the University of Denver and serves on the boards of the Denver area council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Denver Art Museum Foundation. Together, Don and Sue direct the philanthropy of the Sturm Family Foundation.
Julie Shaffer, Secretary
Julie Shaffer is the executive director of the Oreg Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. She is fortunate to be able to combine her personal passions with her professional work in supporting Jewish, environmental, educational and local community service initiatives. Julie’s varied work life has included non-profit management consulting, preschool director, small business owner and elementary school teacher.
Julie has been involved in Colorado’s Jewish non-profit world as a professional and lay leader for 20 years. She was a founding board member of the Boulder Jewish Community Foundation, which included a 2003 honor for her dedication and extraordinary work in the Boulder Jewish Community. Julie is a founding board member of Judaism Your Way and she has served on the boards of HaSifria, Boulder’s Jewish library and B’Yahad, the Boulder:Israel People to People Project. She has also been active on the steering committee of the JCC preschool and on the transition planning team for the Boulder JCC. She currently serves on the Foundation Professionals Advisory Committee for the Jewish Funders Network and is a board member of Joshua Venture Group, a national organization providing start up funding and technical assistance to innovative Jewish non-profits and their leaders. Julie has been an evaluator for Slingshot: A Resource Guide For Jewish Innovation for several years. Julie is also an active partner in Social Venture Partners of Boulder.
Julie is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She and her husband, Bruce, are the parents of three adult children.
Jeff is married to Alison Lakin and has two daughters named Maya and Ella. He is in a mixed-faith marriage, although they were married by his hometown Rabbi and are raising their children Jewish. Jeff and Alison moved to Colorado in 1999, and have lived in the Stapleton area since 2004.
Jeff grew up in New Orleans, and has lived abroad in both Chile and the UK, where he completed post-graduate work at Cambridge and LSE. He is also a trained legal, social, and family mediator.
Jacob Bornstein, a program manager for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, assists in planning for Colorado’s future water needs. His statewide responsibilities include planning for environmental and recreational water needs, water supply needs for energy development, public education and outreach on Colorado’s Water Supply Future, and water/land use related issues.
Tammy Goldstein has been a Board member of Judaism Your Way since January 2005. She has chaired several projects for JYW including our Passover Freedom Concert. Tammy has proven to be a leader in our Community, including serving as a Board member of The Jewish National Fund and as The Jewish Women's Philanthropy Center Campaign Cabinet Chairperson.
Rob Klugman was born and grew up in the Philadelphia area. He was graduated from Amherst College (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, Bond Fifteen) and from Harvard Business School (Woodrow Wilson Fellow). He currently lives in Denver with his wife Kathy.
His business career began at Leo Burnett USA, then the country’s third largest advertising agency, in 1973. He moved to Colorado to work at Coors Brewing Company in 1979. While at Coors, he had responsibility for such functions as Marketing; International Operations; Distributor Networks; and Strategy and Mergers and Acquisitions.
In 2005, he retired from what had become Molson Coors as Chief Global Strategy Officer. He consulted to the company through mid-2008 and now consults, primarily in the beer business, independently.
His past and current regional/local boards include the Historic Paramount Theatre, the Denver Metro YMCA, Denver Botanic Gardens, the Anti-Defamation League (Mountain States Division), the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education, and Rose Community Foundation. His national boards include the ADL and the Association of National Advertisers.
Steve Kris is the principal of Conundrum Capital LLC, a private investment company. Steve serves as a board member and advisor to several portfolio companies including: Bellwether International Group, MBH Enterprises, BNN Energy and the advisory board of Cuvee Ventures. Mr. Kris serves on the boards and committees of several other charitable institutions including: JFS of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, National Jewish Health, The Denver Scholarship Foundation, The Colorado Open Golf Foundation and The Rose Community Foundation. He earned a BBA in Finance from The University of Colorado in Boulder in 1988. He is married with two children.
Steven M. Leaffer has been the President and owner of O.L.P. Management Company, Inc., (O'Connell/Leaffer) since 1987. Currently, O'Connell/Leaffer owns and manages 3,624 multifamily apartment units in Denver, Colorado (3,068) and Tampa, Florida (556); most notably the acquisition of the Hunter’s Run Apartment Complex in Denver (676 units).
From 1975 to 1986, Steve was a mortgage banker in Boston, Massachusetts, specializing in FHA multifamily and nursing home financing programs. The Leaffer Company, Inc. closed several complex debt and equity financings. His most notable project was the highly successful Charleston Navy Yard - Boston urban renewal development.
Steve is a graduate of the master's program in Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Tufts University, Boston. He is married to Karen E. Leaffer, an attorney who specializes in nonprofit and foundation law. They have three children, Jacob, Joshua and Katherine and live in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. Steve is a practicing Jew, and Karen is a practicing Catholic, and both are forever grateful to JYW for helping them bridge their respective faith traditions.
The Leaffers are major supporters of the CU Center for Women’s Health Research, for which they provided seed funding and endowed a research prize in honor of their daughter, Jacqueline Marie, who passed away during infancy. The Center works to improve the health of women by performing research, training scientists and educating the public in understudied areas women’s health (notably cardiovascular disease and diabetes).
John Nobil has been a management consultant for over 35 years providing strategic management assistance to all levels of government organizations, private and public corporations, and not for profit entities in Canada and the United States.
He sincerely enjoys helping organizations realize their full potential and prosperity in good and bad economic environments. He has worked at Deloitte Consulting, formerly Touche Ross & Co, and Hein & Associates.
John joined the JYW board to help build a bigger inclusive tent to welcome all Jews and their families wherever they are in their spiritual journey in life.
Mr. Weil serves as the regional Executive Director of College Summit, a national leader in increasing the college enrollment and persistence of low-income high school students. In this capacity he is responsible for overall management, development, and implementation of a growth strategy.
Previously he served as Governor Ritter’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Initiatives where he was responsible for developing and implementing the Governor’s Colorado Promise agenda. Before joining the Ritter administration, he served as Chair of the Ritter for Governor Campaign where he led policy development and Chaired the Finance Committee.
Previously he was the founder and President of Rose Biomedical Research and Rose Biomedical Development Corporation. The Rose companies created partnerships to develop, test, and commercialize early-stage medical technologies. Before his years in health care and medical product R&D, he served as a policy advisor to former Governor Richard Lamm.
Among his community activities, Mr. Weil has served on several Boards of non-profit organizations. He currently serves on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.
Mr. Weil received a B.Ph. from Miami University and a MPA from George Washington University.
The Girls Athletic Leadership Schools is the vision of Elizabeth A. Wolfson, who currently serves as Head of School of the flagship schools here in Denver. Elizabeth Wolfson is an organizational development specialist with senior level consultancy and management experience in the profit and non-profit sectors in local, national, and international settings.
She has spent seven years living and working professionally in Israel, which highly influenced her worldview- one of urgency and potent vitality. Highlights of her professional work include designing and developing the first corporate plan for global internal communications for a world leader in telecommunications; representing a major international political leader; bringing the United Way to the Middle East and exciting projects ranging from homeless teens to high-tech start ups.
Elizabeth Wolfson captained the Division I Field Hockey program at Brown University, graduating with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Management. She studied for her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Southern California, simultaneously earning a Master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Hebrew Union College. She was inducted into the Sussex County, New Jersey, Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2010, Ms. Wolfson was invited to participate in the Aspen Institute Seminars program and was an inaugural TEDXMileHigh Women speaker.
Major influences on Elizabeth Wolfson’s life include philanthropist Barbara Dobkin, writers David Halberstam, Sue Monk Kidd and David Wolpe. Her partnership with Nina Safane in the creation of the Girls Athletic Leadership School has been an amazing model of intergenerational leadership which fuels the necessary endless energy that it takes to create schools in today’s public education arena.
Elizabeth lives in Denver with her two young daughters Isabella and Gavriela.