Board of Jewish Federation & Family Services Announces CEO Transition

New Era of Leadership with Dr. Lauren Gavshon Appointed as Interim CEO;
Takes Lead of Orange County’s Largest Jewish Organization

Dr. Lauren Gavshon, interim President and CEO of Jewish Federation & Family Services (Photo: Business Wire)

IRVINE, Calif.--()--The Board of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) announced today that it has appointed Dr. Lauren Gavshon, JFFS’ current Director of Clinical Services, as interim President and Chief Executive Officer, replacing Shalom Elcott as President and Chief Executive Officer. Elcott, a visionary leader who fundamentally transformed JFFS into the robust and diverse organization it is today, will continue to serve as Strategic Advisor to the Chair of the Board.

“Dr. Gavshon and her family have been involved in the local Jewish community for over 20 years, and she is well-positioned to take on this expanded role,” said Daniel J. Koblin, Chair of the Board. “At JFFS, Dr. Gavshon has repeatedly demonstrated sound and innovative leadership. Her prior success, in establishing and reorganizing clinical programs to improve efficiencies and to create long-term profitability, has earned her widespread respect and support. Dr. Gavshon is a natural bridge builder with an outstanding track record, and we are delighted she has agreed to serve in this capacity.”

As interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Gavshon will work with the JFFS executive team to facilitate a smooth transition of leadership while overseeing the foundational elements of the organization including operational oversight, community engagement, philanthropic involvement, grant making, and involvement with Israel and overseas communities.

Prior to her 2011 appointment as JFFS Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Gavshon held top leadership positions at the John Henry Foundation and Miramar Health, Inc., where she spearheaded significant growth in the organizations’ programs, services and partnerships. She has been a frequent guest speaker, both regionally and nationally, throughout her career.

Among her achievements at JFFS, Dr. Gavshon has:

  • built and opened Mandel House, the first Jewish residential home in Orange County for adults with special needs;
  • built strong partnerships with JFFS Community Partners and affiliates including Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School, the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County, the Orange County Board of Rabbis, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Mission Hospital, Mariners Church and Hoag Hospital; and
  • created and streamlined procedures for all JFFS Family Services programs, including the transition to an Electronic Health Records System to create greater operating efficiency and to increase revenue.

In starting this new era of leadership, the Board recognizes Elcott’s many contributions. “Shalom leaves JFFS with a solid foundation, having developed and led a series of successful initiatives such as Solomon Society, the SKILLSETnpo® leadership program, the Family Philanthropy Venture Fund, and many other programs that are today pillars of the Jewish community. Of particular note is the JFFS/Jewish Community Foundation/Harold Grinspoon Foundation partnership to build legacy support, a project that flourished under Shalom’s guidance,” Koblin said.

The Board will be working with a national search firm to review options for a permanent CEO.

About Jewish Federation & Family Services

Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County (JFFS) is a nonprofit entity that brings together the people, the partners, and the resources to care for people in need, to build a vibrant community, and to sustain and enhance Jewish life. JFFS offers an array of programs, services, and grants, as well as opportunities for community engagement, to people of all faiths, ethnicities and ages in Orange County and Israel. JFFS has been active in the Orange County community since 1965.


Kathleen Mellon, 949-435-3484


Kathleen Mellon, 949-435-3484