Photo of John PritzkerJohn Pritzker, 2014
Photo courtesy of Paul Dyer

John Pritzker: The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.

Conducted by Shanna Farrell in 2014, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2015.

John Pritzker was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1953. He grew up in Glencoe, where he attended grade school. As a teen, he worked at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and at the Hyatt Sea-Tac after graduating from high school. He moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s, joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but eventually resumed working for Hyatt. He attended Menlo College and the University of Denver. He moved from Denver to New Orleans to Dallas and back to Chicago – where he met his wife, Lisa – and to Long Beach before returning to and settling in San Francisco in 1984. He then began his involvement with the Jewish Community Federation, for which he ran the campaign in 2004 and served as president from 2006-2008. In his interview, he discusses his family and childhood in Glencoe, working for Hyatt – the family business – discovering his love for San Francisco in the 1970s, moving around to help grow Hyatt, and founding various companies – including Ticketmaster and Geolo Capital. He describes his work for the Jewish Community Federation as the head of the campaign, overseeing a number of staff changes as president, restructuring the organization, his goals and priorities, and challenges and successes he experienced during his time there. He also reflects on significant people who mentored and coached him during his tenure at the Jewish Community Federation.

Read additional oral histories with Jewish Community Leaders.


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