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Joyce Linker appointed Chair of Contemporary Jewish Museum
Joyce Linker to serve as Chair, Board of Trustees of The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy of The CJM.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The Contemporary Jewish Museum announced the appointment of Joyce Linker as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Linker will begin in her new position, a one-year term, on July 1, 2020.

The longest­–consecutively serving Trustee, Linker joined the Board in 1987, which marked the beginning of her long and remarkable history with The CJM—including her pivotal role in founding The Museum in 1984. Linker served as Chair once before from 1994-1995, when she stewarded negotiations with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency at a key moment in the procurement of a new home for The Museum. She was also Co-chair of the Building Committee that selected renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to design The CJM’s award-winning building on Mission St., and served on the Search Committee that hired current Executive Director Lori Starr.

Linker, an enthusiastic sponsor of The Museum’s exhibitions program, is a photography collector herself and has championed The Museum’s many photography-based exhibitions, including Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years (currently on view); Roman Vishniac Rediscovered (2016); Arnold Newman: Masterclass (2015); Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (2013); and numerous others. Formerly Chair of the Development and Membership Committee, Linker has been a stalwart leader on the fundraising front, hosting countless donor events at her home that featured many of the prominent artists who have exhibited at The Museum, including cartoonist Roz Chast. Linker and her family’s support of The CJM’s annual Family Gala, its signature fundraiser, has been integral to the event’s continued success. Just this past December, she and her son Kevin Linker and daughter-in-law Leslie Haddock co-chaired the high-profile “Blue Jean Ball,” a multigenerational celebration in advance of the current exhibition Levi Strauss: A History of American Style.

“The Museum is a family,” says Linker. “And it has only grown more meaningful to me each year as I see how it is valued and used by people of all ages and backgrounds, both Jewish and non-Jewish. My goal for The CJM has always been to make it open and accessible to all. I’m keenly aware of the unique challenges that we face in this coming year—including safely reopening—and we’ll need to meet this moment of reinvention with an open mind. Under the strong leadership of our outgoing Board Chair, Elliott Felson, the talented Board and staff have already begun preparing by establishing The CJM Relief Fund and a Recovery Task Force, and I am eager to reinforce these efforts by soliciting the community’s support and ideas. Additionally, we will be looking for The CJM’s next leader as Lori’s distinguished tenure comes to a close at the end of this year. These are all complex tasks, made even more so during these unprecedented times, but art is so important to our survival.”

Linker succeeds Elliott Felson, who has served as Board Chair since July 2017, having generously agreed in 2019 to add a third year to his term as Chair. Felson has played a critical leadership role in The Museum’s three-year Facing Change initiative, an unprecedented national program from the American Alliance of Museums to diversify museum boards and leadership. Additionally, Felson and his family also spearheaded The CJM’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, co-sponsoring the gala for the landmark event. Felson has been on the Board since 2010 and will continue to serve as a Trustee for an additional term.

“At this moment, I cannot think of a better or more capable choice to take the baton from Elliott, whose steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment to The CJM has been invaluable,” says Starr. “Is there any task at The Museum that Joyce has not already completed, and with such aplomb and high spirits? Joyce’s appointment signals the Board’s determination and resolve to see The CJM through one of its most difficult chapters, ensuring that The Museum not only reopens successfully, but that it flourishes in the years to come. I look forward to working with Joyce over the next several months.”

Linker has had an illustrious career in finance and private investment. After beginning her advising career in 1985 at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco working with private clients and nonprofit organizations, Linker went on to work at several prominent financial institutions. Until her recent retirement in December 2019, she was senior vice president of wealth management for eight years with Robert Baird & Co.

Linker was the first woman to serve as president of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. She is currently on the Board of the California College of the Arts and is a member of the Investment and Donor-Advised Funds Committee of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. In addition, she is an active participant on the SFMOMA Photo Accessions Committee.

A member of Congregation Rodef Shalom in Marin County, Linker currently lives with her partner Jerry Weisbach in San Francisco. Her three children and their spouses, Kevin Linker and Leslie Haddock, Jodi Linker and Tarek Halim, and Dana and Rich Steele, along with her many grandchildren all live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are also active members of The CJM and the community at large.

Linker holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University. Linker, whose first career was as an elementary school teacher in San Francisco, has a particular interest in arts education and has collected photography since the 1970s.

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