Rav Dovid Goldwasser addressing the event
Rav Dovid Goldwasser addressing the event
Rav Dovid Goldwasser addressing the event

After the exhilarating Winning Edge 2014 business conference, the staff at Bottom Line Marketing Group was inundated by waves of positive feedback. With over 160 business professionals, a dozen top-tier presenters, and three delicious meals, the conference was well received.

Participants checked in and enjoyed a breakfast catered by Mi Chicas. The presentations then began with an introduction by Yitzchok Saftlas, president of Bottom Line, whose contagious enthusiasm set the tone for the day. Renowned executive coach and sales trainer Adam Lieberman spoke on the topic “Leading and Motivating a Successful Sales Force.” He gave practical tools for creating and maintaining an effective sales team, encouraging business leaders to go one step beyond competitors to ensure success.

Nachum Segal, famed president of the Nachum Segal Network, moderated the next portion of the event: the rapid-fire presentations. Conference participants were introduced to the day’s presenters as each gave a brief sampler of the essential points to be covered later in the day.

Next were three sets of concurrent workshops, each on a compelling topic. Perhaps the most difficult choice for attendees was which of the concurrent sessions to attend. Topics ran the gamut of business-related aspects applicable to all businesses, from start-ups to well-established firms: effective hiring, increasing productivity, strategies for growing one’s business, and corporate philanthropy. There was something for everyone; even the presenters were seen attending other sessions when they were not running their own.

Jacob Engel, CEO of Yeda, ran an informative workshop that focused on identifying technical skills and, equally important, interpersonal skills in job candidates. Yitzchok Saftlas led a workshop on developing and perfecting a successful marketing plan, offering tips and trade secrets to his appreciative audience. The expertise and prowess of Saul N. Friedman, senior partner of Saul N. Friedman and Company, were evident in his illuminating workshop on taking one’s business to the next level. Full of practical strategies and inside tips, this session provided useful guidance for growth.

President of R. Bieler Consulting Services, Rabbi Richard Bieler presented on the benefits of corporate philanthropy, encouraging companies to grow through giving. Jack Friedler, president of City View Commercial, kept the participants’ riveted attention as he interspersed humor and wisdom in his workshop, “Proven Techniques to Close That Deal.”

Ira Zlotowitz, president of Eastern Union Funding, presented on raising staff productivity to increase profit. Zlotowitz summed up the conference, saying: “Executives of the most successful frum companies came together to explore what works best to grow a company. I am confident that as these companies tailor and implement the ideas discussed, their top and bottom lines will grow, and employment in our community will increase.” Indeed, a wealth of ideas flew around throughout the day, and participants were encouraged to integrate concepts to best help their companies grow.

Bottom Line Marketing Group arranged an exclusive women’s track for the Winning Edge 2014. Female business leaders had the option to attend this special set of workshops presented by three highly acclaimed professional women. With an overflow of personality and good cheer, Miriam L. Wallach, general manager of the Nachum Segal Network, led a session on presenting oneself properly as “the woman in the room.” In this women-only session, participants spoke up without inhibition, having the unique opportunity to ask questions of and collaborate with other frum female professionals.

In the second session, Suzy Schwartz of Yeshiva University led a phenomenal interactive workshop on perfecting a sales pitch. Those attending the workshop enthusiastically practiced pitching and openly received feedback, allowing the women to connect and collaborate with one another.

Interior designer Fanny Zigdon’s session concluded the women’s track with inspirational flair as she told her personal story of achieving her dream. She discussed how she used social media as a way to further monetize her creativity, and how, with 53,000 followers on Instagram, she has met with success. Zigdon shared tips on how to utilize social media to grow in business.

After the breakout sessions, all conference members reconvened to hear divrei halachah and chizuk from Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, shlita, rav of Kahal Bnei Yitzchok in Brooklyn. Rabbi Goldwasser’s warmth and sincerity engaged the audience as he touched upon topics such as gezel, tefillah, and support of Torah, relating memorable anecdotes to accentuate each point. Rabbi Goldwasser presented she’eilos that arise daily in the business world–including hiring, advertising, and shemirasShabbos–emphasizing the necessity of consulting da’asTorah. He concluded with an impassioned dose of chizuk with regard to bitachon in business and in life.

Another highlight of the day was the much-anticipated Winning Circle question-and-answer forum. Throughout the day, attendees submitted questions to be brought forth before a panel of presenters. Moderated once again by Nachum Segal, this session was met with much interest, as the presenters rose to the challenge and delivered practical, sound advice with confidence and clarity.

Like a fantastic dessert at the end of an especially satisfying meal, Marc Bodner’s keynote address served as the perfect conclusion to a phenomenal lineup. Bodner, CEO and chief visionary officer of L&R Distributors, kept the room in rapt attention as he presented “Building a Dynamic Business Vision in Turbulent Times.” Bodner gave pragmatic advice on maintaining stability and a healthy perspective during these rapidly changing times. Each participant was encouraged to become a visionary and recognize an adaptive outlook as being a key tool for continued success. Innovation serves as the answer to disruption in a quickly evolving society.

The conference continued well into the night as participants took the opportunity to process, internalize, and discuss the day’s events over dinner. Marc Bodner proclaimed, “The Winning Edge was a big win for the attendees. The vibe at the conference was energizing. What a forum to network and learn!” Attendees were asked to provide feedback on the conference. Responses were positive and descriptive. Jay Block of the Small Business Journal aptly assessed: “It was an excellent convention, and more importantly it was insightful, practical . . . I came away with helpful tips and points to incorporate in my business.” The positive responses and still-palpable excitement following the conference are testimony to the win that was the Winning Edge 2014.

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