I am delighted to nominate a remarkable St. Louisan, attorney Sheila Greenbaum, 63, as a 2013 Woman of Achievement. Sheila’s contributions to both the St. Louis general and Jewish communities are the result of many years of challenging hands‐on work, tremendous compassion, intelligence and determination. Her service as current President of the ACLU‐EM, various leadership roles with Jewish Federation including President, and service as a board member of a various Jewish and non‐Jewish organizations, demonstrates the breadth and depth of her volunteerism in the St. Louis region and beyond.
Sheila’s list of accomplishments and honors are exemplary. Currently, as President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, she has been a guiding force behind the organization for more than 25 years. In addition to Board President, she has served as both an ACLU staff and cooperating attorney, affiliate Board Member, Executive Committee member and national Board representative. Said Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the ACLU‐EM, “Over the past eight years, I’ve had the benefit of her counsel and support as we’ve envisioned what the ACLU of Eastern Missouri can be in decades to come.”
For more than 30 years, Sheila has held leadership positions with Jewish Federation of St. Louis and is a current Board Member and Past President. She is only the second female President of Jewish Federation in its 112‐year history. Her leadership with Federation grew from a Jewish Federation Member at Large to Vice President of Human Resources, Chair of the Legal Committee, Vice President of the Legacy Committee, member and Vice President of Planning and Allocations, Vice President of the Annual Campaign to President. She has had a major impact on the strategic direction of Jewish Federation. As head of Federation’s annual fundraising drive, Sheila led the community in an Israel Emergency Campaign where, in less than 90 days, $2 million was raised in St. Louis. Sheila was directly involved in bringing in money by campaigning face‐to‐face with donors and making strategic phone calls.
Just three years later, Sheila led the Jewish community in the creation of a strategic plan, again focusing her considerable talents on the long term welfare of thousands of people both here, in Israel and worldwide. Two years after the strategic plan was in place, Sheila was elected President. Halfway through her two‐year term, Federation was hit with the worst economic downturn and financial crisis in more than a half century. In her role as President, Sheila spearheaded the creation of a Lifeline Fund – which was funded by resources in the Jewish Community Foundation investment pool to give emergency cash assistance and zero‐interest loans to Jewish individuals and families. She also promoted planned giving as a community building tool and priority of all Federation agencies and other Jewish organizations and congregations.
Sheila’s contributions extend well beyond the Jewish community. She has served on the FOCUS St. Louis – Leadership St. Louis Committee; Kemper Art Museum – Membership Committee; the Freedom of Choice Coalition; The New Theatre; BAMSL – Pro Bono Law Committee; Partners in Education – Career Shadowing Program; Women’s Committee of Forest Park Forever. In addition, she has served as Director of legal research and writing at St. Louis University School of Law and as the Democratic Director of the Board of Elections in the City of St. Louis.
To honor Sheila for her impact on our community, she has been the recipient of numerous awards. Locally, these include: Jewish Federation’s Roselin and David Grosberg Young Leadership Award in 1989 that recognizes key players in the Jewish community less than 40 years of age. In 1994 Sheila received the Woman of Valor Award from Federation’s Women’s Business and Professionals Division. In 2009, she was honored with the ACLU Civil Liberties Award and was recipient of the Women’s Justice Award for Public Service Practitioner in Missouri in 2010.
Nationally, in 2007, she received one of the most prestigious Jewish community service awards for a woman as recipient of the Jewish Federations of North America Kipnis‐Wilson/Friedland Award. This award recognizes extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism. The women are chosen by their communities as “women of valor” with lifetimes of commitment to the Jewish world. All winners have made a difference and continue to do so ‐‐ locally and across the globe.
Her Rabbi calls Sheila a wonderful and terrific friend, a great and wise leader who is compassionate, kind and right there on the front line. She is not afraid to be a leader – or to get down in the trenches ‐‐ even when things are difficult.
While I know that this is recognition related to volunteer contributions in the community, to the extent appropriate, I do want to recognize my law firm, Capes, Sokol, Goodman & Sarachan, P.C., where I am a Shareholder and Director, in that they have been supportive of my activities and where we have instituted a pro‐bono law program which I co‐chair with one of my colleagues.