LAKEWOOD – The recent JBiz Expo & Conference in Lakewood brought together women and business owners who shared their secrets of success and tips for managing busy personal and professional lives.
A conference room at Blue Claw Stadium was packed as women came together for a panel on “Helping women climb the ladder to success” at the event organized by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.
The number one recommendation from panelists? Learn how to pick your battles.
“Let small things slide,” said Esther Reizes-Lowenbein, a mother of eight and private fund manager and investor, responding to questions from the audience about how to manage a business while taking care of a household with children.
“It doesn’t always need to be the perfect supper,” said Leah Friedman, a mother of four and CEO of ItCon, a cybersecurity company.
“When running a household, you got to learn how to take shortcuts. Learn how to pick your battles,” said Cindy Gluck, president of Gluck and Company, a real estate brokerage and consulting firm.
For FM Home Loans vice-president of originations Yael Ishakis, juggling her career and six children is still a work in progress. The entrepreneur said that every day is a trial-and-error exercise of finding out what works best.
As a work-life balance measure, Ishakis puts her phone inside a locked vault during family time, while her children keep the keys to what they call “telephone jail.”
Juggling business and family, many of the panel members said, requires not being afraid to delegate at home and at work.
Reizes-Lowenbein encouraged the audience to delegate household chores and even hiring help if they can afford it.
Gluck and Friedman also said delegating business tasks was equally important.
“Delegate even if that increases room for mistakes,” Friedman said. Mistakes are always opportunities for growth, she added.
In line with numerous studies that show how empathy and emotional intelligence are key elements in female workers, the panel stressed the importance of understanding everyone’s personal life and struggles.
“In order for me to service you (the client) and care about your business and care about you, you have to care about me and my personal life,” Friedman said.
Empathy and mutual understanding is vital, she said, while explaining that she believes emotional intelligence is the most important factor when hiring an employee.
Friedman also shares her latest business challenges with her family, so that they can understand why she is sometimes less available.
“Let your kids know what you are dealing with,” reiterated Gluck as she explained that keeping her kids posted with her work life increases their empathy.
Empathy is not only reserved for the client-business relationship, but also is key to relationships between employees, said Ishakis.
“I started making lunch dates with my employees,” said Ishakis. “I pay attention to their personal interests, what are their goals and dreams and how can I help them achieve those.”
While the focus was on building successful businesses, Gluck encouraged the audience to not mourn their losses.
“Focus on what you are good at, not on profits. Quality is what will get you that profit,” Gluck said.
The panel was organized by the Women in Workforce division of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.
“We want to empower more women to reach more heights,” said Duvi Honig, chamber founder and CEO.
“All panelists were self-made. No inherited wealth. And that’s our philosophy here at the chamber: to bring people who got dirty building what they have,” he said.
The chamber has been organizing this annual expo since 2012 and this year about 40 start-up companies took part.
Juan Carlos Castillo is a reporter covering everything Lakewood. He delves into politics, social issues and human-interest stories. Reach out to him at JcCastillo@gannett.com