The ongoing pandemic prevented this publication from hosting its annual Networking Event in person, and one may presume that participants ate heartily at home on the eve of Taanis Esther. As they ate, an impressive lineup of speakers offered insights on faith, marketing, and advertising.

“I want to thank all the people who supported us and to let everyone know to continue what you are doing even when things are difficult,” said Queens Jewish Link co-publisher Yaakov Serle.

Chazaq CEO Rabbi Yaniv Meirov and Councilman Jim Gennaro offered introductory remarks, noting the newspaper’s role in connecting individuals, organizations, and businesses. Met Council CEO David Greenfield spoke of his experiences over the course of the past year, managing the city’s largest Jewish services nonprofit.

“We were very quick to adapt,” he said. “I was at the AIPAC conference on March 1 and I was standing with some colleagues.” At the moment, he received a tweet alert of the first COVID case in New York City. He called the Met Council’s Chief Policy Officer Rob Newman for an emergency discussion. “If there was one case of COVID, there would be a hundred. And if there were a hundred cases, then there were a thousand. We pivoted our entire operation, all ten departments of the Met Council, to be laser focused on COVID.”

A new warehouse for food, crisis hotline, and a full-time attorney were brought in to handle the Met Council’s increased caseload. Concerning networking, Greenfield said that the pandemic changed the business climate and recommended the Clubhouse app for off-the-record conversations.

Michael Rothschild of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation spoke of how a small group can result in an outsized impact. In economics, this principle is named after Vilfredo Pareto. “He realized that 20 percent of your activities generate 80 percent of your results. If you’re a salesman, 20 percent of your customers represent 80 percent of your sales.”

He then argued that for frum Jews, this concept is not new, as he cited the Sefer HaChinuch. In this halachic work, the author notes that one who is careful in saying the Birkas HaMazon, his livelihood will be prepared with honor for his entire life. Another sefer, Ateres Z’keinim, advises reading the Birkas HaMazon from a siddur in order to remove hardships and tragedies.

Rothschild’s point was that a seemingly minor prayer can reap tremendous rewards in this world if one observes it carefully.

Yitzchok Saftlas of the Bottom Line Marketing Group spoke of communication, creativity, and consistency as the main elements of a successful campaign. “What problem does your company solve? What issues does your organization solve? It’s important to communicate this,” he said. “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Harry Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Law Firm spoke of prayer and effort as keys to success. “We got a big reminder of who runs the world. If you want success, you have to work hard and pray harder,” he said. “You have to believe. At the end of the day, that’s the source of your income.”

He was introduced and interviewed by Serle, who noted his longstanding involvement in kiruv, as a speaker for Partners in Torah and Aish HaTorah. His religious education included Ohr Somayach, which Serle also attended at a different time.

Rothenberg acknowledged that prayer for success in his work has earned him complaints as it depends on the injuries of his clients. “We have a very unusual practice. If they get hurt they should call us, but I am not davening for anyone to get hurt.”

On a practical note, he speaks of his firm with individuals from all walks of life whom he meets every day. He also advised participants to include their phone numbers in their emails, quickly call back a missed call, and be helpful even when it may not immediately result in a new client, as it increased the chance of a future opportunity as one is remembered for that helpful act. As he said, Hashem challenges people to give tz’dakah as a test of faith that they will be rewarded for doing so.

“Everyone with whom I’m in contact knows what I do. I give my card to taxi drivers, golf caddies – every possible touch point,” he said. Speaking of his firm’s specialization, he shared a relatable thought. “Anybody can get into an accident.”

Sales coach Jeff Goldberg offered the longest presentation of the evening, with advice on marketing remotely. “Know your platform and practice it beforehand,” in reference to online conference apps. In any situation, he spoke of being mentally tough and empathetic to the consumer.

“How can I serve you? How can I best help you?” At the same time, while having a conversation, be prepared to get to the point. “By setting an agenda, you’ll know how much time you’ll need.”

With remote meetings online, one should still dress appropriately; have a good video camera and background. Act like it is a brief commercial, one that is remembered by the consumer.

During the video presentations, names of the participating advertisers streamed alongside the screen with links provided for more information.

Serle thanked co-sponsors Chazaq, the Step Ahead referral service, and Yaakov Katz Studios for encouraging Queens Jewish Link and Bukharian Jewish Link to continue its work at the onset of the pandemic, and expressed hope that next year’s Networking Event will be in person when this publication will be marking its first decade in operation.

The Networking Event video can be seen on our site  for a limited time.

By Sergey Kadinsky