LAKEWOOD – The recent JBiz Expo & Conference in Lakewood brought together women and business owners who shared their secrets to success and tips for managing busy personal and professional lives.
The conference room at Blue Claw Stadium was packed as women gathered for a panel on “Helping Women Climb the Ladder to Success” at the event hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.
Number one recommendation from the panelists? Learn how to pick your battles.
“Let the little things slide,” said Esther Rises-Löwenbein, a mother of eight and a private fund manager and investor, answering questions from the audience about how to run a business while tending to a household with children.
“It doesn’t always have to be the perfect dinner,” said Leah Friedman, mother of four and CEO of ItCon, a cybersecurity company.
“When you’re running a household, you have 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 Yael Ishakis, juggling her career and six children is still a work in progress. The entrepreneur said that every day is an exercise in trial and error to find what works best.
As a work-life balance measure, Ishakis puts her phone in a locked vault during family time, while her children keep the keys to what they call a “phone jail.”
Juggling business and family, many of the panelists said, requires not being afraid to delegate at home and at work.
Reizes-Lowenbein encouraged the audience to delegate chores and even hire a helper if they can afford it.
Gluck and Friedman also said that delegating business tasks is just as important.
“Delegate, even if it increases the possibility of 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 working women, the panel emphasized the importance of understanding everyone’s personal lives and struggles.
“In order for me to serve you (the customer) and take care of your business and you, you have to take care of me and my personal life,” Friedman said.
Empathy and mutual understanding are vital, she said, while explaining that she believes emotional intelligence is the most important factor in hiring an employee.
Friedman also shares her recent business challenges with her family so they can understand why she is sometimes less available.
“Let your kids know what you’re dealing with,” Gluck reiterated as she explained that letting her kids know about her work life increases their empathy.
Empathy isn’t just reserved for the customer-business relationship, but is also key to employee relationships, Ishakis said.
“I started setting up lunch meetings with my employees,” Ishakis said. “I pay attention to their personal interests, what their goals and dreams are, and how I can help them achieve them.”
Although the focus was on building a successful business, Gluck encouraged the audience not to mourn their losses.
“Focus on what you’re good at, not on profits. Quality is what will get you that profit,” Gluck said.
The panel was organized by the Women in the Workforce division of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.
“We want to empower more women to reach greater heights,” said Duvie Honig, the chamber’s founder and CEO.
“All the panelists were self-made. No inherited wealth. And that’s our philosophy here in the chamber: to bring the people who have gotten dirty to build what they have,” he said.
The chamber has been organizing this annual expo since 2012, with around 40 startups participating this year.
Juan Carlos Castillo is a reporter covering everything in Lakewood. It delves into politics, social issues and stories that affect people. Contact him at [email protected]