Jim Berk – SWC CEO

Jim Berk is the Chief Executive Officer of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, its Museum of Tolerance, and Moriah Films. An educator and storyteller with a vast background in business and social advocacy, Jim has strong ties to the media and entertainment world, philanthropic community, and the experience in leading large, growth-oriented organizations with international operations. Jim is responsible for all aspects of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and all of its affiliate operations.

His diverse background makes him uniquely qualified to lead a global organization whose mission is to confront anti-Semitism and hate, defending the safety of Israel and Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations through advocacy and education programs, investigations, research, reporting, media, films, and museums.  
Throughout his career as a dynamic and strategic leader with extensive global experience, Jim has demonstrated remarkable ability leading organizations committed to social impact, education, and entertainment at the highest levels. As CEO of Participant Media, Jim led one of the world’s leading media companies focused on entertainment inspiring social change. He oversaw the greenlight of 67 feature documentaries and films including The Help, Contagion, Lincoln, Chavez, The Soloist, The Kite Runner, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies. He oversaw partnerships with non-profits and NGO’s and execution of hundreds of social action and education campaigns using the company’s media to inform and ignite positive social change.
As CEO of PodcastOne, he oversaw one of America’s largest independent podcast networks. As President & CEO of Fairfield Communities, he led a NYSE public company with over 4000 employees. As President & CEO of Hard Rock Café International and the Hard Rock Café Foundation he led a company with over 6000 employees with operations in 29 countries.  
His extensive educational background includes leading The GRAMMY Foundation as its Founding Executive Director, where he established the non-profit, entertainment production, professional development and education Foundation reaching hundreds of thousands of students and adults annually.
Jim began his career as a music teacher in South Los Angeles, building a shuttered music program into one of the largest and most recognized in California. He was then tapped to create the Academy of Music and Performing Arts Magnet, which as the Founding Administrative Dean, quickly grew to be one of the largest in the western US. At 29 years old, he was appointed Principal of the Hamilton High Schools Complex in Los Angeles, making him the youngest high school principal in the history of the Los Angeles Unified School District. During his tenure he ushered in a myriad of new programs, curricula and initiatives while securing philanthropic funding, education grants and national recognition.
Jim holds degrees from California Lutheran University (MPA) and California State University, Northridge (BA, PHD.H). He is the Board Chair of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television and sits on the Boards of the USC Rossier School of Education, the USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, and the Advisory Boards of the ASU Learning Transformation Studios and Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at UCLA. He is a voting member of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars).

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