Guest Speakers

2018 WRJ Central District Convention

Blair Marks

Blair C. Marks was elected President of Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) in December 2013 after serving a four-year term as WRJ First Vice President as well as terms as WRJ Vice President, WRJ Treasurer, Chair of WRJ’s first Audit Committee, and Chair of the WRJ Budget Committee. She has developed and delivered specialized training on YES Fund appeals for the WRJ board and on “WRJ 101” for WRJ District leaders.

Marks first became involved with sisterhood in the early 1990s at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, SC, eventually serving as that sisterhood’s president from 1994-1995. Marks then served in a number of executive roles in the WRJ Southeast District, including as President in 2008-2010.

Currently active in the Temple Kol Emeth Sisterhood in Marietta, GA where she is a Board Trustee and has served on the Temple Board, Marks has, over the years, worked in programming, fundraising, and membership, helping at countless Purim carnivals, Chanukah festivals, art auctions, mystery dinners, and more. Marks has also been active in the past with United Jewish Federation, serving as a trainer for the organization and as a member of the Young Leadership Council.

She also serves on the board of the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers, an organization that strives to improve the quality of science and math education for elementary- and middle
school children. Every year, during the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th, she helps locate “missing persons” near the finish line.

She is a Ramblin’ Reck from Georgia Tech (an engineer!) and holds master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and Georgia State University. Professionally, she is the Director of Ethics for a global security and defense company.

Marks and her husband Joe share music as a hobby, participating in the temple choir and helping lead Shabbat services. Blair, Joe, and their daughter Sasha make their home in Marietta, GA.

Keynote Speaker: Eileen Saffran, founder The Gathering Place

The Gathering Place is the realization of a dream for Eileen. She envisioned a place for people touched by cancer to find the services and resources, integrated with their medical care, focusing on enhancing quality of life with dignity and hope. Through a grassroots movement, Eileen followed her dream to create The Gathering Place. She recognizes that the cancer experience touches us all and by pulling together as a caring community and family, we enhance learning, comfort, and healing. Programs are provided for adults, teens and children and include support groups, family and individual support, a lending library, a wig salon, exercise programs, hands-on cooking classes, art therapy and more. The Gathering Place has locations in Beachwood and Westlake. Since its 2000 inception, The Gathering Place has served over 40,000 individuals who have made more than 309,000 visits. Eileen’s realization of her dream has enabled thousands of individuals and their families to access The Gathering Place’s programs—all free of charge.

Heather Lorgeree

Heather Lorgeree is the WRJ Manager of Programming and Affiliate Services. Heather works with all potential, new, and current sisterhoods on membership, dues collection, leadership support & resources, and educational webinars. Heather also serves as the staff liaison for the WRJ Districts.

Heather is an active member of Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, NJ where she serves as a trustee on the sisterhood board. Heather was honored during WRJ’s Centennial year as her sisterhood’s Unsung Heroine and recently she was also honored as a Woman of Valor. In addition to the volunteer roles at her temple, Heather also volunteers as a chapter advisor for Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority at Long Island University-Post Campus.

When Heather is not volunteering, you can find her cheering on her favorite Chicago sports teams, playing with her 3 nephews, or making ice cream.