URJ Leadership Header - Barbara Saidel

Barbara Saidel
Chief Operating Officer

Barbara Saidel serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest denomination in American Jewish life. As a member of the URJ's Executive Team, she is responsible for overseeing all URJ operations across North America.  She plays a key role in developing and refining the URJ's priorities and structures as Reform Judaism moves into a new era.

Barbara was among the key architects of the URJ's strategic planning process and is playing a leadership role in implementing its new 2020 Vision.  She chairs the URJ's Operations Leadership Team, and provides leadership, direction and hands-on management of the URJ's membership function (RMAC), human resources, information systems, finance, and facilities. The URJ is a large and complex organization, with an $93 million budget, over 360 year-round employees, and facilities that include its headquarters in New York, the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C., 16 residential summer camps and one day camp, as well as offices in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Israel. 

Saidel has over 25 years of progressively responsible experience consulting with and managing large and mid-sized businesses. Prior to joining URJ in January 2011, Barbara was an independent consultant focused on helping not-for-profit organizations and medium sized businesses improve their effectiveness through the strategic use of information and technology.

From 1994-2009 she was Managing Director and Chief Information Officer of Russell Reynolds Associates, the international executive search and assessment firm, where she directed global information systems and knowledge management. She was also a technology consultant to President Obama's transition team in 2008. Prior to joining Russell Reynolds, she held various leadership positions in finance, information systems and operations in law firms and investment banks. Ms. Saidel began her career as a consultant at Arthur Young and Company (now Ernst and Young), where she managed engagements in financial and operations management and improvement for middle market companies, and professional service firms. She also led several white collar productivity improvement projects for a Fortune 100 Company.

Saidel received her B.A. (magna cum laude with honors in Psychology) and M.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.B.A. (with distinction) from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Certified Public Accountant.