#PeopleOfWilmDE: Seth J. Katzen

Seth J. Katzen is the President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, and is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! Read his story here. 

“I grew up in Baldwin, Long Island, and earned my undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland where I met my wife. We immediately moved to Baltimore upon graduation where I worked as an advertising agency executive for 13 years before relocating to West Palm Beach, Florida, in 2002 to begin a second career in the nonprofit sector. I became the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware in 2010. We lived in Sharpley for 9 years before moving to the Highlands just before COVID-19. Our intentions to downsize did not go as planned since the pandemic brought our sons home from college to graduate virtually.

Three interesting facts about me are: 

1. I remain an Orioles and Ravens fan after living in Baltimore for 13 years.
2. I’m an avid lacrosse fan – one of my twin sons is an Assistant Coach at Wilmington Friends School and the other was a goalie for WFS and McDaniel College.
3. I’ve been a Big Brother for more than 25 years. My Little is now in his thirties and also became a Big Brother himself, continuing the cycle. 

My favorite attractions in Wilmington are the amazing craft breweries- we’re fortunate to have establishments like Wilmington Brew Works, Bellefonte Brewing Company, Dew Point, and Iron Hill. I enjoy traveling around the state to visit others as each brewery has its own story to tell with rotating taps and loyal patrons. I also enjoyed several concerts in Rockford Park this past summer which were great, and I look forward to this summer’s series as well as the weekly summer gatherings at the Delaware Art Museum.

I try to start most Friday afternoons at Trolley Square Oyster House to kick off the weekend. They have an excellent menu, rotating beer selections, and friendly staff. I mostly relax over the weekend due to my long work weeks that often require evening meetings, however, we try to go to a local restaurant on Saturday evening. The restaurant scene in Wilmington just keeps getting better – we went to The Quoin a few weeks ago and were so impressed with the vibe that included a speakeasy downstairs from the restaurant. 

Wilmington has allowed me to live and lead by example. I embrace changing lives and repairing the world every day, working with dedicated colleagues and volunteers. The Federation serves as the community convener and is a conduit to connect, engage, and inspire the community. Our tagline is We Grow Stronger TOGETHER, as we understand that by working together, we can accomplish so much more than any one person or organization can working alone. 

The past 13 years in Wilmington have been transformative both personally and professionally. I’ve heard about ‘The Delaware Way’ and have fortunately experienced this firsthand over the years through accessibility and forging ongoing relationships with our state representatives, local clergy, and nonprofit leaders in our community. We value being part of our wonderful community! 

One of my proudest moments as a Wilmingtonian was when I received a call from President Biden during his Vice Presidency. He called to express his interest in establishing a fund to honor his son Beau, who I had the privilege of meeting as he volunteered every year at our Mitzvah Day of Community Service. We created the Beau Biden Leadership Fund which provides ongoing leadership development and training opportunities. 

The pandemic has really created a number of challenges for our community that we are still adapting to, and as the city continues to grow over the next few years, I’d really like to see the development of solutions for the lack of mental health professionals and the unfortunate waiting lists for service providers. My wife works at Christiana Hospital in the Maternal Health Department, and we fully understand the healthcare needs in our state and the efforts to address these evolving needs.

My advice to Wilmingtonians and visitors is to take advantage of all that Wilmington has to offer! From a variety of bars and restaurants, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Brandywine Zoo. Walk along the Brandywine River, see a live performance at The Grand or The Queen, and experience a rejuvenated Market Street.” 

You can keep up with the work of the Jewish Federation of Delaware on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

To nominate next week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE, email us at info@wilmtoday.com. Read more #PeopleOfWilmDE posts here. Follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitterYouTube, and TikTok.

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