New Chief Advancement Officer Aims to Connect Jewish Community as it Grows

New Chief Advancement Officer Aims to Connect Jewish Community as it Grows

By Julie Zweig

The Jewish community has always been a big part of the life of Joy Nathan, Shalom Austin’s new Chief Advancement Officer, overseeing the development and communications/marketing departments. So, when she works to connect the Austin Jewish community, she does it with heart.

As a young child growing up in Houston, Nathan attended summer camp, theater and ballet class at the JCC, and now her four daughters do the same here in Austin. She was a member of Brith Shalom and later Beth Yeshurun, and she recalls it was there that she got even more involved in Jewish life.

“I sing, so the cantor at Brith Shalom got me involved in that way.”

Nathan visited Israel with her parents and met her husband, Marc, on a Jewish Federation trip to Israel in high school, and she says the Jewish Holy Land is where she found her true passion.

“I’m a strong Zionist,” Nathan said. “It’s my driving force behind just being involved in a community and knowing that we’re not powerless. And so that’s why I always want to be involved in the community I’m in.”

Nathan decided to major in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and minored in music. Once she graduated, she found herself back at the JCC, this time as a singles coordinator, working to connect people to each other and the Jewish community.

From there, for the next 14 years, Nathan moved on to work for AIPAC in Houston, and later at AIPAC in Maryland heading the regional office.

“It was about connecting people. I was working with lay leaders and marrying their passion for Israel with politics and the foundation. The campaign was also part of it, but it wasn’t just asking for money but helping them understand why the money was necessary, teaching them and asking them to get involved.”

When Nathan’s husband got a job in Austin in 2013, she took some time off to be a mom and start a clothing company called Joy’s Girls, but it wasn’t long before she found herself immersed in the Jewish community again. They joined Congregation Agudas Achim and it wasn’t long before they got involved in Shalom Austin.

“If I’m going to live in this community, I want to be a part of it. I want to be an example to my daughters,” Nathan said. “We plan to be here for a very long time.”

Last summer, then Shalom Austin CEO, Jay Rubin asked Nathan to come on as a consultant. And in March 2017, Nathan became the Chief Advancement Officer. Her goal is to help the community as it grows.

“We want to connect people. We want to get to know them. And we want to meet them where they are. Jewish life should not just be on this campus, it’s about what’s going on in the community and how can we find ways to connect.”

She believes it’s important to bring the branches of Shalom Austin together.

“We should be a one stop shop. You should be able to have a conversation with one person about programs and getting involved in the Federation and JFS.”

The Generations Campaign is also a major priority to meet the needs of the growing community.

“We already know we have this really exciting, solid, dynamic community and this campaign will build for the future and allow programming to mirror the needs of the community. It’s an opportunity for people to come together,” Nathan said. “There’s a road map in place and it’s exciting to be part of it.”

Nathan looks forward to getting to know the community and welcomes the opportunity to share ideas for advancement.  You can contact Nathan at 512-735-8096 or

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