Who Was Judith Chapman?

“Some are born leaders, some learn their leadership skills through experience, but all of us in the volunteer world thrive on the inspiration and mentoring a good leader provides.” – Joelle Steefel

Every year, the Federation honors a female role model in our community with the prestigious Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding Jewish volunteer leaders who go beyond just dedicating their time, energy and resources. These women are mentors, modeling and motivating others to express their Jewish values by supporting the overall well-being of their Jewish community.

So who was Judith Chapman?

Judith Chapman


Judith Sirbu Chapman was an esteemed volunteer leader, friend, change agent, and member of our Jewish community. Her leadership skills bloomed through dedication, focused effort, on the job training, and vision. Overcoming painful shyness, she became an advisor to community professionals and a mentor to all the women who were fortunate enough to know her. Judith’s expertise benefited the Federation, Mt. Zion Hospital Auxiliary, the statewide Nurses Association, the Democratic Party central committee, JCRC, the j. Weekly, National Women's Division Board and the national organization of Federations.

In her day, few women were professionals, and no women ran corporations. Judith persevered through her intelligence coupled with an intuitive understanding of people and her concern for the future of the overall community (Jewish and secular). Utilizing her natural talents, she charted a career path by lending her time to multiple organizations.

Judith used to say that she was a “professional volunteer,” treating every position as if she had a paycheck and a promotion at stake. Her personal investment was immeasurable and provided a profound impact on her community. Her permanent fund with the Federation makes grants towards Jewish projects at home and abroad, empowers women to achieve, and provides future leadership training programs.

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Judith Chapman Memorial Women's Leadership Award and can be submitted using our online nomination form. For questions, contact Robyn Carmel.


December 04, 2013


The Federation