Hillel International Chief Executive Officer:
Position and Candidate Specification 

About the Organization

Hillel International is working to ensure a vibrant Jewish future. Today, over ninety percent of college-age Jewish young adults are enrolled in higher education. As a result, Hillel International, which supports the work of local campus-based Hillels in the United States and beyond, is uniquely positioned to have an outsized impact on the Jewish student experience, to help students form Jewish identities, and to build a pipeline of leaders who will serve the Jewish community going forward.

Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes undergraduate and graduate students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world operating in eighteen countries, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

For nearly a century, Hillel’s network of dedicated student leaders, professionals and volunteers have encouraged generations of young adults to celebrate Jewish learning and living, pursue social justice (tikkun olam and tzedek) and connect to their peers and the global Jewish people. By participating in life-changing trips and campus initiatives, students learn to make a meaningful impact on the future of the Jewish people and the world while they grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually. With its headquarters at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center (SIC) in Washington, D.C., Hillel International is charged with supporting local Hillels to ensure that each campus Hillel has the resources and tools to achieve its mission "to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world."

Hillel has reached a critical juncture in its nearly 100-year history. Hillel’s five-year Strategic Implementation Plan, The Drive to Excellence, was unveiled in 2014 and provides an ambitious plan to focus its work on the core functions that will have the greatest impact on the Hillel movement’s global mission. The Schusterman International Center focuses its work on three areas, which are referred to as the Three Pillars – Talent, Student Engagement, and Resource Development. The plan describes each of the Three Pillars and establishes metrics by which Hillel’s stakeholders can measure progress. Hillel International has made great strides in reaching many of its goals, including having more than 150 Hillels participating in regular measurement of student engagement, nearly 70 percent of Hillel directors coming from an internal pipeline, hiring more than 100 full-time Jewish educators, and raising $181 million in movement-wide revenue last year. In its final year of the plan, the Schusterman International Center is focused on supporting the most critical student engagement goals, including engaging 140,000 students at least once in the coming academic year, and having at least 60,000 students engaged six or more times in the year.

Hillel International is committed to building open, welcoming, pluralistic Jewish communities serving college-age young Jewish adults, thereby building and helping secure the future of the Jewish people in the 21st Century.

As Hillel International approaches its centennial, the organization is excited and ambitious about its future as it is poised to take the next bold step forward. For a more in depth look at Hillel International, please visit www.hillel.org.

Position Summary

The CEO of Hillel International is the leader of a pluralistic global Jewish student movement that engages Jewish graduate and undergraduate students from all backgrounds in Jewish life, motivating and empowering them to be lifelong contributors to the future of the Jewish people. Working in partnership with the Board of Directors and a talented staff, the CEO is responsible for driving the continued enhancement of Hillel International’s value to the campus-based Hillel organizations and ensuring that the importance and relevance of the Hillel movement is well understood by the global Jewish community. The CEO serves as Hillel International’s chief spokesperson, ambassador and fundraiser. As such, it is essential that the CEO possesses and projects an authentic Jewish identity as well as a deep appreciation of the diversity of Jewish experiences in the 21st century. The CEO is accountable for ensuring that Hillel International – both in fact and by reputation – is seen as an essential leader and convener in the Jewish community – relevant, influential, and welcoming to all.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Developing and executing a new five-year strategic plan in collaboration with the Board, staff and field. The plan will lay out a bold vision and set goals for Hillel, including planning for its centennial in 2023 and associated capital campaign.
  • Making the Schusterman International Center an even more powerful resource and partner to the field.
  • In partnership with local Hillels, driving continued innovation, expanding the level and quality of student engagement, and creating a pipeline of future Jewish leaders.
  • Raising the profile and enhancing the value proposition of the Hillel movement nationally and internationally.
  • Motivating donors to expand their level of philanthropic support and encouraging new donors to support Hillel’s vital mission.
  • Maximizing the impact of Hillel’s upcoming centennial.
  • Inspiring Jewish students with diverse levels of commitment and knowledge to embrace their Jewish identity.
  • Attracting, developing, and retaining top talent in the organization.
  • Building partnerships with other Jewish leaders and organizations, based on a shared commitment to the Jewish community and Jewish values.
  • Strengthening and expanding relationships with colleges and universities.


Reports to:

  • Board of Directors

Direct reports:

  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Strategy and Campus Success Officer
  • Chief Global Leadership and Advancement Officer
  • Chief Experience and Talent Officer
  • Chief Innovation Officer

Other key relationships:

  • Local Hillel Directors
  • Individual and institutional donors
  • Student leaders
  • Federations
  • University and college leadership teams

Candidate Profile

A forward-looking, strategic leader with a commitment to ensuring the future of the Jewish people, the CEO will be a compelling ambassador and effective resource developer – both human and financial – who can articulate the vision and direction of Hillel International and create excitement about the organization’s mission and impact. A trusted partner to the Board and the field, and a dedicated leader and mentor to the staff, the successful candidate will be a skilled relationship-builder with the proven ability to manage a broad portfolio of responsibilities and relate to young adults. Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to pluralism, the CEO must be willing to address the inevitable controversies that will arise and make difficult decisions, while also investing the time to clearly communicate with and, as possible, build consensus among key stakeholders. With a deep love of the Jewish people, the CEO should possess the ability to understand and speak to all constituencies in today’s Jewish world with passion, knowledge, and authenticity.


Proven track record of talent, financial, and intellectual resource development
Demonstrated ability to recruit, retain, and develop top talent. Experience garnering support from high level institutional and individual donors (or analogous private sector experience). Ability to develop intellectual capital and provide sophisticated thought leadership.

Experience serving as the public face of an organization
Outstanding verbal, written, and social media communication skills as well as empathetic listening skills.

Experience working within a multi-stakeholder system
Experience serving as principal advisor, partner, and liaison to a Board. Proven ability to build constructive, mutually supportive relationships across a geographically distributed, heterogeneous organization.

An authentic Jewish identity and commitment to pluralism
A deep and inclusive love of the Jewish people is essential; a demonstrated ability to incorporate Jewish knowledge, culture, and identity into communications and leadership style.

Passion for and knowledge of Israel
An appreciation and understanding for the contemporary nuances inherent in support for Israel and its future.

10+ years of senior leadership experience
Management experience at the organizational level is preferred; management at the department level is required.


Strategic Thinking

At a time marked by changing student dynamics on college campuses as well as tremendous demographic shifts in the Jewish community, it is essential the CEO of Hillel International demonstrate a willingness to try new things and nourish an organizational culture that supports innovation and change. In leading the development of a new strategic plan, the CEO must:

  • Articulate a vision and direction for Hillel International that engages and energizes today’s generation of students, local Hillel professionals, staff, and current and potential supporters, regardless of where individuals are in their Jewish journey.
  • Reinforce and raise the Hillel movement’s profile as a model for Jewish pluralism in the 21st century.
  • Integrate proven best practices, its current programs, its mission and its future into a clear and unique brand that highlights the importance and relevance of the Hillel movement.
  • Provide a clear direction for the entire organization, leading to initiatives that will support sustainable growth, including greater philanthropic support.
  • Look ahead five years, anticipating and planning for the ways in which political developments, demographic shifts, and philanthropic trends might impact the Hillel movement. Demonstrate a willingness to be innovative, take risks, and push the organization to experiment and evolve.

Collaborating and Influencing

As the leader of an organization that supports an international, geographically dispersed movement, the CEO must have the emotional intelligence to build relationships in a collaborative way with many different stakeholders, including the Board, the field, staff, and donors. Demonstrating empathy, authenticity, humility and emotional intelligence, the CEO will:

  • Be a skilled diplomat who uses complex, coordinated negotiation strategies, adapting to the individual, organization and/or situation as needed.
  • Facilitate increased collaboration across the organization, sharing best practices and successful innovations and working together to scale them across the Hillel network.
  • Systematically build partnership and support at multiple levels, including Board, staff and field professionals, as well as across groups of stakeholders.
  • Be willing to speak about controversial issues and create space for open dialogue, coupled with the ability to help others recognize and prioritize commonality while respecting differences.

Leading People

By demonstrating a leadership style that creates a sense of direction and purpose, generates excitement, and encourages optimism and bold thinking, the CEO will effectively generate resources for the movement, both financial and human. The CEO will maximize the potential of a highly dedicated staff, field directors, student leaders, and Board. An active listener and learner, the CEO will:

  •  Engage with and energize the broader organization and donor community to maximize the impact of the upcoming centennial celebration, reasserting Hillel’s relevance and importance to the Jewish people.
  • Motivate leaders throughout the organization, empowering them to initiate projects or strategic objectives and assume ownership based on insight into their strengths and motivations.
  • Develop and implement systems which facilitate and support open communication and debate of challenging issues across stakeholder groups and geographies, as well as between Hillel International and local Hillels, in ways that minimize divisions and foster commonality.

Applications or Nominations

To apply or nominate an individual for this position, please send an email to HillelCEO@SpencerStuart.com. Applicants should include a resume and cover letter.