Time for a break – and more networking! Then we file back to our seats to hear from the Temech delegation that’s flown in from the United States. They speak of their dream, to help religious women in Israel grow their businesses. We meet Mrs. Chavi Hertz, who supported this venture in memory of her grandmother, Henya Malka Lachner, a”h – and we all rise in a spontaneous standing ovation. If not for the cost being so generously subsidized, many of us wouldn’t be attending the conference today.
Next on the agenda is Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi. She encourages and inspires, with stories, humor and pathos. Am I the only one surreptitiously wiping my eyes when she tells us about when she sat by the side of her son in the ICU? This week is his yahrtzeit … A few minutes later, I’m certainly not the only one holding my sides in laughter as she shares her views on life. “As working women, there are so many people we have to please,” she says. “Clients, the boss, employees, children and husband … not to mention the mother-in-law!” We laugh ruefully – it’s true!
Our efforts are worthwhile, though. “In thirty years, the little girl playing at your feet will follow your example, doing the things you showed her,” she reminds us. We end with a heartfelt, private prayer, and a brachah from this wonderful, brilliant woman who was an attorney by profession before she chose this holy work.
Lunch! Along with a few hundred others, I head out to the lobby and down the winding staircase. My cell phone rings and I step out of the crowd. It’s my out-of-town friend, who’s here for the day. “I’m downstairs already, at the first table on the right,” she says.
“I’m on my way,” I promise. “Save me a seat!” I’m not about to miss this rare treat of actually sharing a lunch date with a good friend I see perhaps twice a year. I plop my pocketbook and papers on a chair at her table and head for the buffet.
I’m pretty hungry but can’t taste everything, though it all looks so good! I cover my plate with fish, lasagna, and luscious looking salads. Too bad I can’t take home leftovers for supper!
While we eat, we network, asking our table-mates what they do and where they live. I’m intrigued by these ladies – they look like anyone you’d meet on the streets of Geulah, Rechov Yaffo or even Meah Shearim, and inside they’re accomplished professionals. My friend is a translator, another woman is a talented writer, across from her sits a licensed therapist, and the last one at our table is a city planner and architect. I not-so-subtly conduct a mini-interview, and learn a tiny bit of what goes into city zoning and planning. Unsurprisingly, we all agree that the hardest part of working for oneself is dealing with clients who don’t pay. We swap horror stories over coffee and salads, making new friends and enjoying our time together.
Soon my plate is almost empty, and I decide regretfully that I really can’t eat another bite. But wait – there’s cheesecake for dessert, lighter and fluffier than I’ve ever made. My friend shakes her head to the piece I offer her, contenting herself with chocolate mousse. I’m forced to eat her cheesecake as well as mine. Poor her, and poor me.
We head back upstairs, and I “fall into” Dov Gordon’s workshop, without really meaning to. It’s called, “How to elegantly control your next sales conversation so that your ideal clients say, ‘yes.’” I’m not exactly in sales at this point, but I find myself fascinated by his approach – and yes, it really is elegant. “People don’t buy the products and services that are best for them,” he contends. “They buy what’s best sold to them. It’s our job to serve them with integrity.” With this statement as our starting point, he asks us how we’d define “sales.” He listens and nods, then gives his own definition. “Sales can be defined as leadership,” he explains. “People follow you because they want to, not because they’re forced, coerced or worse.”
He explains that a client purchases a product or service in order to overcome an obstacle in his way – something keeping him from getting to the future he’d like. “Listen to your clients,” Mr. Gordon advises. “They’ll tell you what they need, if you ask them. By listening to your client, you make yourself stand out.”