Column: Eric Robbins named CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on May 6, 2016
After 11 years at the helm of Camp Twin Lakes, Eric Robbins will become the next president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, an organization that’s more than 100 years old.
“It’s been the best job in my life,” Robbins said about Camp Twin Lakes. “I feel this organization is capable of doing anything it sets its mind to do.”
Under Robbins leadership, Camp Twin Lakes tripled the number of campers it served and went from having one camp site to three with the addition of Fort Yargo State Park and Warm Spring.
“We forged more than 60 collaborative partnerships serving 10,000 campers annually with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges,” said Robbins, who was the nonprofit’s second CEO. Camp Twin Lakes will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
During the time he has been Atlanta, Robbins also has been active with Jewish organizations as a volunteer. He sees great potential in helping to transform the Jewish Federation of serving both its traditional mission as well as inspiring the next generations of philanthropists.
The Jewish Federation historically has had a United Way structure where it has raised money for local nonprofits as well as those in Israel. But Robbins would like to expand that role.
“I look at it as a community building organization first,” Robbins said. “If we do that well, the fundraising will follow. Under my watch, I want to see the Jewish community be a part of the larger community. We can address problems together, and that’s exciting to me.”
Robbins, 53, succeeds Michael Horowitz, who retired at the end of last year as CEO of the Federation. Robbins, who will begin his new job in August, said he understands that a big part of the job involves raising millions of dollars a year to distribute to social service organizations in Atlanta and Israel.
“The Atlanta Jewish Federation must transform itself and become relevant and vibrant in a new era.” Robbins added. “I am humbled and excited by the trust the Jewish Federation board is investing in me to lead this change. I envision Atlanta as the model of an energetic, connected and inspired Jewish community, actively engaging the wider community in which we live…”
The Visiting Nurse Health System has hired a new CEO, replacing Mary Arthur who stepped in last year as the interim CEO. The new CEO is Norene Mostkoff, who will be joining the organization in July.
Since 2009, Mostkoff has served as president and CEO of HCI-VNS Care Services of Des Moines, Iowa, currently serving over 65,000 patients annually in 44 counties.
In 2012 Mostkoff successfully led the merger of Hospice of Central Iowa and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa—the state’s largest home care and hospice programs—to provide compassionate and effective community-based care.
Under Mostkoff’s leadership, HCI-VNS was recognized as one of the best places to work in Iowa by the Des Moines Register, honored with the United Way of Central Iowa Live United Give Award and the Better Business Bureau’s Integrity Award. She is currently the Chair Elect of the Visiting Nurse Association of America.
“She is a brilliant leader,” said Bill Henagan, Visiting Nurse’s board chair. “Norene will allow us to continue to serve a larger, more pivotal role in Atlanta’s home health and end-of-life care.”
Ann Curry, a senior advisor with Coxe Curry & Associates, has worked with Visiting Nurse for years, and said the organization is grateful to Arthur for stepping in.
“Mary Arthur came out of retirement, and she has been amazing,” Curry said. “We owe her a debt of gratitude. And we’re very excited that Norene has cast her lot with Atlanta.”
Arthur, who served as COO of the organization until 2011 when she retired, said Mostkoff will be the perfect leader for the challenges facing the nonprofit and the home healthcare industry. “She has boundless energy, and she’s a great listener,” Arthur said. “She also has an MBA. It’s a great day for Visiting Nurse.”
Prior to HCI-VNS, Mostkoff served as the chief operating officer at HospiceCare Inc. (now Agrace HospiceCare) in Madison, Wisconsin, which provided end-of-life care to more than 500 patients each day.
Mostkoff has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, as well as winning awards for Outstanding Agency Leader of the Year 2015 by the Visiting Nurse Association of America, and Advocate of the Year 2015 by the United Way of Central Iowa. She earned an MBA from University of Wisconsin and a Mathematics Teaching degree from University of Illinois.
Visiting Nurse, founded in 1948, is Georgia’s largest nonprofit provider of home health care and hospice serves. It has 750 employees serving 6,000 patients and their families on any given day.