We had an amazing time at “Unlock the Wealth” – the 2019 Temech Conference!
For those of you who weren’t able to attend, or who missed parts of the conference, here’s a roundup of what happened – plus some practical takeaways.
The best part of waking up…
Might be Nescafe in your cup, but that’s all most of us have time for. And especially on a day like today. So at the Temech Conference, breakfast was on us, with a constant supply of fresh salads, cheeses, mezonos rolls and sandwiches, bourekas and pastries.
Fill your plate. Network. Repeat.
Take a walk on Temech Avenue!
In an open creative media project, all attendees were invited to visually represent their business using a combination of whatever materials they had brought (like business cards and brochures) and art materials provided (markers, modeling clay, paint, glue, ribbon, pom poms and more).
The result? An eye-catching display of your business endeavors!
Share Your Wealth TED-Style Talks
10 women took the stage to deliver short, powerful talks on the topic of wealth. Each speaker delivered her own unique perspective and practical advice.
Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
Rabbi Sinclair delivered an entertaining talk about going into the work environment, business ethics and keeping your eye on the big picture.
1) Be an influencer. This lesson comes, interestingly enough, from the halachos of kashering meat: when meat is expelling blood during the kashering process, it can’t absorb blood back in. If you want to avoid absorbing values you don’t agree with from an external environment, be an influencer! Be proud of your identity, and don’t be afraid to espouse your own values.
2) Keep your eye on the big picture. Rabbi Sinclair told the story of a young boy from Yerushalayim who was asked “Why are you wearing that funny thing on your head?” by a secular university student who came for a Shabbos meal. The boy’s answer: “So I always remember that above me there is something bigger than myself.” To not stray away from our ultimate goals as businesswomen, we need to remind ourselves of how we are working for something bigger than ourselves: for our families, for our communities, and ultimately for HaKadosh Baruch Hu.
Shaindy was introduced by current Temech CEO Gvira Milworm, who herself shared some beautiful, personal insights on the uniqueness and special contribution of each woman she meets through Temech.
Shaindy, who this year made the transition from CEO of Temech to an advisory role, spoke about how practically to take full advantage of changes in life and business (those we initiate and those we don’t) as catalysts for successful growth.
1) Let go. In a transition, we’re always going to lose something, be it physical, emotional or financial. If we want to be ready to make that change and come through stronger, we need to identify what it is we are going to lose, and make peace with that loss. Otherwise, we won’t be free enough to transition successfully.
2) Go slow over the bridge. When you’ve made the leap, but are still in the midst of the transition, realize that it is going to take time until you feel comfortable in your new role. That’s normal – and healthy. One helpful strategy is mapping out what your new role entails and effectively following a checklist until it becomes automatic.
“Making it in Israel: Success Stories from Women Like You” Panel
The afternoon session was a series of powerhouse interviews with five successful Anglo businesswomen, conducted by five Anglo women involved in the media.
Financial consultant Rifka Lebowitz was interviewed by Mishpacha Magazine’s Nomee Shaingarten.
Rifka dealt directly with exploding the myth of ‘you can’t make it in Israel.’ “The airports, cafes and malls are full,” Rifka pointed out. There will always be well-meaning naysayers. Ignore them. Use your own eyes and intelligence to see the reality – and figure out where your place in the reality is.
Educator Rivki Segal was interviewed by best-selling cookbook author and food columnist Tamar Ansh.
Rivki and her family made aliyah when she was at the height of a successful career high school Judaic studies teacher and director of women’s Torah education programs. Now she was starting from scratch, especially as teaching in gap year seminaries – which everyone had assumed she would do in Israel – didn’t bring her the fulfillment she was looking for.
In the years that followed, Rivki founded the L’eyla Women’s Initiative, a vibrant learning program now housed in the OU Center. (Even though plenty of people told her that it wouldn’t work; Israel had enough opportunities for women’s learning.) She gave weekly Tehillim shiurim – and eventually published a sefer, Living Tehillim. (Even though she’s not an author.) And Rivki currently directs a program bringing English into schools that have a high population of children of Israeli baalei teshuvah, usually on a lower socio-economic level. She designs curricula, integrates Anglo kollel wives into these schools as teachers and tutors, and organizes fellowships for Anglo olim with a background in education. (Even though her only experience in teaching language was as an “Ivris” teacher in a Bais Yaakov.)
“Hashem leaves a connect-the-dot trail in your life,” said Rivki. “Sometimes those dots are outside of your box, outside of your definition of who you are and what you can do. But if you can be open to see those dots, you can open up amazing opportunities for yourself.“
Tamar Ansh shared her own story of recognizing and seizing the dotted trail Hashem had left for her. When she went in to her publisher to sign a cookbook contract, she noticed the book Just One Word: Amen on the desk. Having been touched by the book, Tamar commented, “This is such an important book. There should really be a children’s version.” “Will you write it?” was the response. Taken aback – after all, she was a cookbook writer, not a children’s author – Tamar managed to say “I guess so” – and the rest is history.
“Never say no immediately when you’re given an offer, even if it sounds totally irrelevant,” advises Rivki. “Say, ‘oh, that sounds interesting – I have to think about it.'”
Digital marketer Hadassah Levy was interviewed by Shemesh Media partner Sharon Rottman.
Hadassah shared her path to becoming a digital marketer before “digital marketing” was a recognized profession. She spoke about the value of learning on the job, getting your hands wet, and the challenges of working in a field where the goal is a constantly moving and changing target.
Hadassah gave particularly valuable advice about dealing with the bane of every businessperson: bad clients. You know – the ones that suck the life out of you, but you don’t do anything about it because you’re scared to lose the client. “You could fire the client,” Hadassah advised, “but you could also change your mindset. If you’re treating the client like an employer who can dictate your time and priorities, then you will inevitably be a very bitter employee. But you also have the choice to recognize that he’s NOT your employer. He is a client; he sought you out. Control is in your hands, not his. If you make that switch, the relationship dynamic can change 180 degrees.”
Bestselling author Riva Pomerantz was interviewed by editor-in-chief of Menucha Publishers Esther Heller.
(Esther happens, coincidentally, to be Riva’s editor). Riva explained how her goal is to explore social issues in the charedi community through the vehicle of fiction. “When people read fiction, they have their guard down,” she said. “They’re open to think about issues that they would otherwise resist.” Riva’s most meaningful moments come when someone shares how a piece she wrote changed their life.
Riva shared how challenges enabled her to become both a better writer and a better businesswoman. Hard times with a publisher that didn’t pay her made Riva realize that she needed to advocate for herself and put guidelines and safeguards in place. She couldn’t be a pushover; she had to protect herself to get what her work was worth.
Challenges with rejection of her work (once Aish.com rejected 20 of her pitches – in a row!) helped Riva realize that rejection of her work is not a rejection of her. “It just means that you don’t have what this editor is looking for right now. That frees you up to focus on what the editor in question is looking for, and also frees you to look for editors who are looking for what you have right now.”
The panel was capped off by founder of startup MonitHer Dr. Yehudit Abrams, interviewed by entertainment and celebrity interviewer Heather Dean.
Yehudit shared parts of her long journey from being one of three women in a mechanical engineering program (there weren’t even any women’s restrooms!) to medical school in Europe to working at NASA planning for medical aspects of the Mars mission to medical director of a breast ultrasound company to winning two major awards and grants for MonitHer, her startup with the goal of making cutting edge early detection methods affordable and accessible for all.
Have you caught your breath yet?
But while Yehudit may sound like Superwoman, she is real, deep, resilient and lives her relationship with Hashem.
In Yehudit’s own words, nothing in life went how she expected it, and she needed to constantly take leaps and readjust herself to her new reality. As one example, when Yehudit was (she thought) happily married with a child, and about to start her medical residency, her marriage went bad in a way that necessitated her getting out fast. She found herself a stay-at-home single mom – a far cry from her plans and dreams. “But it was when I had this time at home that I found myself thinking about the breast cancer early detection ideas that had formed when I was at NASA. Then I hadn’t had time to really dive into the idea. Now suddenly I did. And that was the beginning of MonitHer.”
How does Yehudit take her leaps? This question got a smile and an admission that it was nice to be in an environment where she could give the real answer: “I pray a lot and ask Hashem for guidance.” When Yehudit won the WeWork Award for MonitHer – and the considerable grant that came with it – she realized she finally had the funding to make her dream a reality. The only problem? Shaarei Tzedek had finally agreed to let do her residency in radiology (aborted years earlier when she had suddenly become a single mother). When was she slated to start? The following week.
Finish her residency – and abandon her chance to affect the lives of millions of women? Put her all into making her startup idea into a functioning business – and abandon her long-awaited desire to become a practicing radiologist? How do you make a decision like that?
Yehudit’s way: she flew to Uman with her rebbetzin and sat by the kever of the Baal Shem Tov, asking Hashem to give her direction and guidance.
When she returned to Israel, she called up Shaarei Tzedek and informed them that she wouldn’t be starting the residency.
Yehudit has been working on MonitHer since then, gathering a team that includes the former CTO of GE Global Ultrasound. Her dream? “I want every woman – especially those who are high-risk – to have easy access to effective, affordable early detection methods for breast cancer. I want there to be devices in every mikveh, where women can scan themselves once a month, and based on the change over time, we’ll be able to detect if there is an issue that deserves a referral to a specialist.”
Yehudit’s dreams are big, but her own words are applicable to each and every one of us. “If you’re working for Hashem, you’re not small. You have the best behind you.”
We had plenty of food for thought, but we also needed food in our stomachs.
Hundreds of women headed to a sit-down fleishik lunch, chatting with friends and networking with the women they hadn’t met yet. Salmon appetizer, stuffed chicken entree, fruit platters for (healthy! yay!) dessert… yum.
Musical artist Tzippy Neuhaus delivered an on-stage performance throughout lunch. An uplifting end to a day packed with insight and action.
We look forward to seeing you at future Temech events for Anglos. If you’re not yet on our email list, subscribe here to stay updated about upcoming events!
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