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Chabad Lifeline blog

Feature focus: Stan & Vicki Zack

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These days, Stan and Vicki Zack travel to spend time with their beautiful grandchildren.

This year, they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It is not only 50 years of marriage and starting and nurturing a family, but also 50 years of working together tirelessly to make the world a better place.

Today, Stan is in Arizona from where he made the time to speak with Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger, Director of Chabad Lifeline, over a Skype call offering his advice.

Before we tell you how they have helped Chabad Lifeline, we’d like to share with you his success professionally.

In 1972, Stan and two partners founded STS Systems, a computer company based in the West Island of Montreal. One partner was in charge of marketing & sales, another handled the legal & contract issues, whilst Stan took charge of the business’s inside operations.

“I probably hired the first 300 people in the company, and then I was smart and fortunate enough to build a human resource department,” he recalls. “I was still responsible for it, and if it was a senior person getting hired, I would get involved with the interview.”

When Stan and his partners sold the company in 2000, they had 935 employees, having achieved tremendous success during what was a very tough period of industrial growth at the time.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Stan and Vicki’s connection with Chabad Lifeline started at a meeting with Rabbi Ronnie Fine to discuss addiction. “We met him on Queen Mary with his sister Karen,” Stan recalls with a chuckle. “Rabbi Fine didn’t take any notes, and then we realized that she [Karen] was really the one that was handling things.”

The Zacks visited the centre on a Tuesday afternoon for the open speaker’s meeting, and attended several family group meetings. “When Rabbi Bresinger says that they really save lives, I could see with my own eyes what it was doing for people,” Stan stresses. “When we go back every six months or so we are really moved by participating and hearing the stories. People come with a problem with a spouse or more often with a child, and they’re throwing their hands up in the air, they feel there’s no hope. We can see how the group meetings are very helpful.”

CHABAD LIFELINE’S MENTOR & PERSONNEL GUIDE

Stan and Vicki’s support of Chabad Lifeline goes far beyond finances. Stan is a longstanding member of our Executive Committee and has offered his expertise and time in almost all of our human resources related matters.

Stan has interviewed almost every person Chabad Lifeline has ever hired. His experience in growing a company from 3 partners to almost 1000 employees and his care for what we do made him invaluable in finding the best possible talent to serve all those who walk through our door for help with addiction. “We had a fairly large company with a lot of employees so anything related to employee issues, I have plenty of experience in that,” he relates. “So when Rabbi Bresinger has an issue he needs to bounce off somebody, I’m happy to talk to him about it.”

“The staff that they have are very impressive people,” he adds. “An example would be Ruth. She's a goldmine. The young people they’ve been bringing in are all amazing!”

Finding the right candidate for the job and the right situation that works is very difficult. “Hiring for Chabad Lifeline is not like industry. They have a tight budget, so it’s hard to attract professionals with the salaries that they pay,” admits Stan. “They try to be creative, but the people who work there have to want to help and make a difference. They’re not there for the money, that’s for sure.”

GETTING OTHERS TO SUPPORT LIFELINE

The Zacks work as advocates for Chabad Lifeline, encouraging friends and acquaintances to support our lifesaving work.

“There’s some exposure through the raffle and the film festival, but that doesn’t really get people to understand what it’s all about,” Stan says. “Attending the meetings, sitting down with Rabbi Bresinger, Karen, and Ruth. We know of some situations where people went to one meeting and they became deeply involved, and also became donors.”

Their efforts and support of Chabad Lifeline are highly appreciated. “Stan and Vicki are most outstanding philanthropists dedicated to making our community a better place,” Executive Committee Chair Eddie Wiltzer remarks. “Their devotion to improving healthcare is exceptional.”

Stan leaves off with a message for our readers. “There’s still a stigma attached to addiction and most people don’t understand it until they have a need for help,” he stresses. “Chabad Lifeline does vital work. If people get involved, attend some meetings, and understand the philosophy, they will be moved. Chabad Lifeline is a hidden gem. It’s an organization that really does miracles.”

Thanks to Stan and Vicki Zack, we are able to do those “miracles” everyday, because of their financial support and  all the help in hiring the best people to make them happen.

Stan, Vicki, we can’t thank you enough for all your time, financial support, and dedication. Thank you!

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