One of the things that makes the J great is our staff, and we’re proud to introduce three new-hires throughout our facility.

Hopefully you already know that introductions, especially laid-back, fun ones, are our strong suit. This piece shall be no different, so let’s dive right in and meet our new staff members!

Shani Leead, Marketing Coordinator:


Where are you originally from? How did you make your way to Denver?

Los Angeles. Following the herd…I love Denver, wanted a change from the big bad City of Angels, and got this job so it was a great opportunity!

What made you want to work for the J? Did you attend the J growing up?

I wanted to be involved in a community that cared about inclusion and Jewish values. I did not attend the J growing up, mostly because I went to a Jewish day school and that is where I spent most of my time for Jewish community-related events.

What’s your favorite thing about your new job?

The people I work with :) and the diversity of my role!

The holiday season is fast approaching! What are you looking forward to most?

Experiencing it in the snow! It’ll be like the movies I watched growing up. BUT REAL LIFE.

What’s something SUPER interesting about you?

My family is from Israel, and I speak Hebrew.

Emily Whalen, Box Office Manager:


What made you want to work at the JCC?

In my role as box office manager in other locations the work has been focused around consistent plays produced in house, whereas Mizel does festivals (JAAMM & DJFF) that allow me to learn and vary what I know and how those effect changes in box office protocol. While I did not attend the J as a child, my best friend Rachel did and not only does she have great memories of doing plays here in the theatre program but I have found pictures of her grandfather, former board president Harold Cohen, all over.

What’s your dream vacation? Country/state you want to visit most?

My dream vacation is a year of travel around the world at my own pace. Top locations are London, Paris, Rome, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and LA (my second home!).

What’s your favorite book?

Favorite book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Don’t read it though, get the Jim Dale read audiobook––he makes it extra magical!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I just want to be Captain Marvel!

Most interesting fact about you?

I am weirdly good at the Kevin Bacon Game, where you connect celebrities to Kevin Bacon, or even other celebrities. My personal Bacon Number is 3, which is also a fun fact.

Ian Jacobs, Major Gifts Officer:


You’ve had a very successful career in Development. What made you want to work for the J?

I am excited about the opportunity to help propel the J into the future and create a place that meets the changing needs of the Jewish community in Denver.

What’s your favorite thing about your new job?

The variety of each day, from meeting supporters to working on fundraising strategy and experiencing the myriad of events and programs we host here at the J.

What’s your favorite quote? Your personal motto?

Kindness costs you nothing.

What’s your favorite book? If you don’t have a favorite book, what’s your favorite movie? Or answer both, if you’d like! ☺

Book: Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, Movie: Roadhouse

Now, wrap this all up with a FASCINATING fact about yourself.

I have camped in the open air in the Sahara desert, I grew up in a house built in 1790 (I’m originally from Connecticut), and my best half marathon time is 1 hour 38 minutes!

We have many new, wonderful employees within our facility, but we’re happy to have had the chance to work with Shani, Emily, and Ian to formally introduce them to our family and community.

Welcome to the J, y’all!