In February, Weber modified their leadership team. Paul Ginburg, who previously managed school finances as chief operating officer, has been given the title of chief advancement officer to assist with fundraising and development. In addition, the school hired Vanessa Leibowitz as their first chief financial officer. The RamPage sat down with Leibowitz for an interview about her and her new position at Weber.
Sam Halpern: What do you do at Weber?
Vanessa Leibowitz: I’m the CFO [Chief Financial Officer], which means that I keep track of all the funds coming in and going out of the school, as well as some fiduciary responsibilities related to HR [human resources] and those kinds of different items.
Editor’s note: According to Inc.com, “A fiduciary is a person, committee, or organization that has agreed to accept legal ownership or control and management of an asset or group of assets belonging to someone else.”
SH: How does Weber benefit from having a CFO?
VL: I think what it allows us to do is to actually have a good grasp of the numbers and the financial numbers of the school to be able to account for what we have, for what we’re expecting, and to plan as we go, as we move forward and plan for the future—whether it’s the immediate term future or the longer term future.
SH: What is your favorite thing about Weber?
VL: I really enjoy the people who I work with.
SH: And do you have a least favorite thing?
VL: I think as, like in any organization when you’re new somewhere, you have a certain style or you have expectations. You think you want to do certain things, and it’s always hard to get things moving in the direction that you want to get them moving into. I would say that’s what I have the most difficulty with.
SH: And why did you choose to work at Weber?
VL: They offered me a job! I like working in the Jewish community—I’ve worked in the Jewish community before. I have children and if they ever want to come to Weber that would be cool.
SH: And where did you work before Weber?
VL: Before Weber, I worked for a software company, and before that I worked for the Jewish Federation in Nashville.
SH: So you have not always lived in Atlanta?
SH: How does Atlanta compare to other cities?
VL: I’ve really enjoyed living here. I grew up in Europe and lived lots of my life in Europe, so when I moved to the States, we first lived in Nashville for a long time and then we moved here. I definitely like Atlanta better than I did Nashville.
SH: Was there a particular thing about Atlanta?
VL: I like the fact that we have a “comfortable life”, but that we still have access to everything a big city offers…whether it’s the shows or the fact that we have an international airport. We’re just one step away from the rest of the world, basically, and the climate’s awesome.
SH: Where in Europe [did you live]?
VL: I was born in Amsterdam, and I grew up in Paris; after that, I spent some time in England and Israel.
SH: How would you describe your Jewish life outside of Weber, currently?
VL: Well, I have three kids—two of whom are in day school. We’ve gone to the synagogue [and] my family lives in Israel. We don’t go to synagogue every Saturday, but we’re definitely very connected…my kids go to Jewish camp and those kinds of things.
SH: How would you describe yourself?
VL: Definitely more of an introvert; I like to get things done, not very patient.
SH: What do you like to do in your free time?
VL: Because I have three kids, they take up most of my free time. I like being around them, I like to travel, I like to chill, or do kickboxing.
SH: Where do you like to travel?
VL: I have traveled extensively over Europe and travel regularly to Israel. I have been to South America a few times and would like to explore that part of the world more.
• • • • •
To summarize, Weber’s new CFO was born in Europe, has three kids, and does kickboxing. Make sure to say hello to her in the hallways and welcome her to Weber.
UPDATED 11/5/17 to reflect adherence to the AP Stylebook and The RamPage Policy, Ethics and Style Handbook.