Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center names Susan L. Abrams new CEO

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center announced today the appointment of Susan L. Abrams as Chief Executive Officer. Abrams brings more than 25 years of nonprofit, museum and financial management experience to her new role.

“Susan’s breadth of professional experience and passion for education make her the right person to lead the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center into its next decade of growth,” said J.B. Pritzker, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “We looked for someone with experience leading large nonprofits, with development and financial expertise. Susan is a blend of those characteristics mixed with compassion for the survivors. She is a proven strong manager and administrator, and she shares the Museum’s mission and vision. We are thrilled to welcome her aboard, and we look forward to her leadership over the coming years.”

Abrams, 49, comes to the Museum from JCC Chicago where she has served as Chief Operating Officer since 2011, overseeing all of the $34-million organization’s businesses executed at over 30 locations throughout Chicagoland and revitalizing its position as a community resource. In her previous role as Vice President of the Chicago Children’s Museum, Abrams created the strategic business and marketing plans to guide the Museum’s move to Navy Pier and helped lead its capital campaign. Previously, Abrams worked for McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs. She is also a published author.

“I am pleased and honored to lead the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center at this time of significant opportunity to help fulfill its mission to honor the legacy of the Holocaust and teach universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference,” said Abrams. “I am excited to build on the success that this world-class institution has achieved since its grand opening nearly five years ago and to work side by side with the board, staff, supporters, volunteers and most importantly, the survivors.”

Abrams earned bachelor’s degrees in Finance and History from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Management degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She currently serves on the board of advisors for Kellogg’s Women’s Business Association.

Fritzie Fritzshall, Holocaust survivor and President of the Museum, added, “On behalf of my fellow survivors, we extend an enthusiastic welcome to Susan and look forward to working with her to further our legacy and ensure that ‘Never Again’ becomes a reality.”

Abrams will officially begin her new role with the Museum at the end of April.

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