Lynn Bunim: Leadership By Example

Lynn Bunim

For the past 40 years, Lynn Bunim, the 2012 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award winner, has demonstrated the passion, sacrifice, sincerity, and individuality that go into being a leader. To those that know her well, she is an inspirational leader, one that does not allow bureaucracy to get in her way. Lynn continues to push us to go beyond the status quo.

Through her own drive, persistence, and devotion, Lynn makes positive changes to both the Bay Area Jewish community and to the San Francisco community as a whole. Lynn’s empowering spirit has affected numerous individuals. Below are personal statements from just a handful of those that have worked with Lynn and been touched, guided, and inspired by Lynn’s persistence and grace.


Kathy Williams, Lay Leader, Chair of Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award Committee:

“There are women who touch your life and you know they will have a lifelong impact on you and your community. Lynn Bunim is one of them. As Chair of the Judith Chapman Leadership Award Committee, I had the privilege of calling Lynn Bunim to tell her she was selected as the recipient of the 2012 Chapman award. Lynn's initial response was the silence that often comes with the surprise of winning a prestigious award followed by a humble thank you --- though it is our community that should be thanking Lynn for her leadership. She embodies the heart and soul this award represents. She has dedicated thousands of hours as a leader and volunteer to organizations including Jewish Vocational Services and Federation ensuring critical lifelines are available to those in need, in our Jewish and secular communities, ranging from basic work skills that help individuals return to work or ensuring seniors have transportation preventing them from being homebound. Always with an eye on the future, Lynn manages to find time in her busy schedule to mentor some of our younger leaders. Regardless of age, Lynn has served as a role model to all of us and shown us through her actions how to be a strong, articulate and committed leader. Yasher Koach, Lynn.”


Laura Mason , Senior Program officer at Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund:

"I believe Lynn is one of the rare leaders in the community who is able to both see the big picture from 40,000 feet, and ready and willing to delve into the work of implementation and ultimately translating vision into impact. To our work she brings a deeply respectful and collaborative approach that enhances any communal process. Not one to shy away from a challenge or to lose momentum amidst competing interests, Lynn remains grounded and wise in complex situations. All of these traits make Lynn the quintessential leader, whether it is in a board room or otherwise in her day-to-day life. On a personal level, Lynn has always been a role model of mine, as I am continually impressed by her grace under pressure and ability to make the balancing act of professional, volunteer and family responsibilities seem effortless."


Debbie Toizer, Lay Leader, Women in Leadership Mentee:

"When I was accepted into Women In Leadership, a leadership mentoring program of the Jewish Community Federation a few years ago, I was excited to have the opportunity to work with a mentor. Then I received the news that Lynn Bunim was to be my mentor and I looked her up online. Have you seen this woman’s resume? Executive Director for External Affairs for AT&T; Chair of the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee under both Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, Founding Trustee and board member of the San Francisco Day School; and the list goes on. Lynn was recognized by the League of Women Voters as a “Woman Who Could be President.” President! To be honest, it was a little intimidating. Shortly after that, Lynn and I met in person. She asked me about my goals and what she could do to help me achieve them. That’s how it went with Lynn and me. She would check in from time to time, forwarding my resume and putting me in touch with people for future involvement. Lynn may be a business executive, sought after by government officials and business leaders for her expertise, but she made time to share that expertise with me too. Congratulations, Lynn, on a much deserved award."


Susan Mall, Lay Leader and former JCF Staff:

"In the early days of the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) lunch ‘Strictly Business,’ I called Lynn because we needed help with corporate sponsors. I thought Lynn would be a perfect person because of Lynn's incredible reputation and experience in the business world. Lynn was a bit reluctant at first to serve on the JVS committee, but very thoughtful--- asking lots of questions before she got involved because Lynn does not like to do anything half-way. Agreeing to serve on this one committee led to being on many other committees at JVS, heading up the committees, then taking a board position, and then becoming the head of the whole organization! Lynn then became a member of the Board of the Federation and then worked her way up the JCF organization the same way she committed herself and worked her way up JVS. She asked a lot of questions and dedicated herself to learning and loving the organization, Along the way she helped to create new areas of involvement for young people, business people and those who wanted to enter the portals of Jewish community life. The best thing about Lynn is that even though she has had a long and strong history of community service, she came to her Jewish communal work a little later in her life; and through the doors of JVS, she worked her way into the Jewish organizational world to become one of the top decision makers at JCF. She is the "poster person" for Jewish community involvement and passion. I am so happy I made that phone call! Congratulations Lynn!"


The Jewish Community and Endowment Fund would like to thank Lynn Bunim for her work in the community and for continuing to motivate so many of us to increase our volunteerism and further develop our leadership skills. JOIN LYNN AT THE POWER OF ONE AWARD CEREMONY Lynn will receive the Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award at our annual Power of One event, taking place February 16 at the San Francisco Hilton. Learn more and register for this celebration of Jewish women who inspire us to make a difference in the world.



February 09, 2012