On July 31 2017, Lara Knuettel was appointed as the JCC Denver’s Interim CEO. Throughout the last five months, Knuettel has grown to be an invaluable part of our community. As of October 19, her ‘interim’ title was tossed to the wayside, and Lara (rhymes with ‘Tara’) donned the cape of the J’s new CEO.
Upon hearing this fabulous news, we threw a little party for her here at the J and said, “Hey! You know who’s the coolest of the cool? Lara Knuettel! Let’s tell everyone how cool she is!” Thus, we met with Mrs. Knuettel (pronounced ‘nut-uhl’) to learn a little bit more about her history with non-profits, her vision for the JCC Denver, and her uncanny ability to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Where are you originally from? What lead you to Denver, Colorado?
I am from New York but moved to Denver from Los Angeles with my husband and children over ten years ago. We were looking for a slower pace and a great environment to raise our family.
According to your LinkedIn profile, you have a remarkable amount of experience with Development. What sparked your initial interest in that field?
While I was studying for my MBA in New York City, I looked for temporary work to help pay my bills. I ended up at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center working in their development office. When I graduated from business school they asked me to apply for a position. That was the beginning of my non-profit journey.
In the five months you’ve been our Interim CEO (now official CEO—YAY!) what has been your fondest memory?
My fondest memory is meeting and interacting with incredible community members and extraordinary JCC staff.
When you were little, did you ever dream of being a CEO?
When I was little I wanted to run my own fashion empire so I guess in a way I was thinking about it.
What is your vision for the JCC Denver?
One of my goals as the CEO of the JCC Denver is to continue to build community by combining our Jewish values and expertise to position the JCC as a place for anyone who is looking to build meaningful connections. We want the JCC to be a place that enhances people’s lives by adding value, joy, and spirituality to everyone who passes through our doors.
When not at work, what are your favorite things to do? Hobbies, activities, etc?
I love being with my kids Jack (18), Sophie (15) and Izzy (9). I love to travel – my favorite places, London, Prague, Paris, and Rome. I also love to bake chocolate chip cookies and take long walks with our dog, Katie.
Lara is a wonderful addition to our JCC family and we are thrilled to have her on board. In addition to being a supreme leader and innovator, Lara has a heart of gold and manages to invoke a strong sense of belonging within the community. With her poise, kindness, and determination, we know we’re in good hands.
Welcome to the JCC Denver, Lara!