Judith Otter has served as Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation since its inception in 2011 and as Chief Operating Officer since 2018. She brings with her decades of experience establishing and developing new organizations. Together with Gary Sinise's endless devotion to our nation’s defenders, her efforts have been crucial to the Foundation’s successful launch, growth, and sustainability.
Using the same tenacity she developed as a professional ballerina, Judith has been instrumental in building the Foundation from a single-employee organization into a sustainable entity with over 50 employees, 50,000 donors, and more than $132 million in total revenue. Her collaborative and nurturing leadership style has attracted donors and talent alike. She personally stewards key donor relationships and handpicks and mentors the staff, with many team members transitioning from junior positions into senior-level management within the organization. Her tireless work and attention to detail eventually earned the Gary Sinise Foundation a coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator in its very first year of eligibility.
Judith came to the Gary Sinise Foundation after nearly twenty years in various roles in finance. From 1999 to 2007, she helped companies such as American Home Mortgage, Washington Mutual, and Manhattan Mortgage Company break into new markets across the Hamptons and Long Island Region of New York as a Vice President/Branch Manager. Before that, she spent years in commercial and investment banking at Oppenheimer & Co., Ensign Bank, and the Tribeca Group, where she advanced from an assistant, to an Officer and Associate V.P. and division head, to Senior Vice President.
Her first career and passion, however, was in dance. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Juilliard School, Judith spent four years as a professional ballerina. She eventually served as Executive Director at Dances Patrelle, a professional ballet company, where she helped launch the company as a New York City staple for both professional and youth talent.
With her personal motto—make a difference in the world, one day and one deed at a time—Judith also donates her time. She has served on the boards of The Parents League of New York, 1050 Tenants Corporation, and the New York Executive Board of the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts. In 2014, she received the Service to the Flag award from Women in Defense, Greater Los Angeles Chapter. When not at work, she enjoys running, hiking, gardening, reading, and spending quality time with her family.