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April 26, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-26

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Members of the Jewish Professional Women's Network: Carr! Goldring, Bella
Brookenthal, Barbara Wauldron, Rebecca Salama, Laurel Felsenfeld, Donna
Wise and Karen Willner.

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April 26 . 2012

Jewish Detroiters connect through
business networking.

Yaffa Klugerman
Special to the Jewish News


t the Jewish Professional
Women's Network meeting
last month, the atmosphere
was decidedly relaxed. Participants
helped themselves to a light lunch
while mingling and chatting. Later,
they watched a presentation given
by Karen Willner, owner of the
YogaWeigh, about her business. The
ambiance was so comfortable that it
was easy to forget the event was actu-
ally a meeting of professionals whose
careers included interior design, elder-
care, real estate and financial plan-
ning. They were all Jewish Detroiters
gathered there for the same reason: to
connect and learn from each other's
"This is a great way to refer people
explained Rebecca Salama, a financial
planner at Raine and Salama, who -
started the group about a year ago.
"I'm much more comfortable referring
someone with whom I have a rap-
port. And in the Jewish community,
it's a quicker level of comfort because
there's usually just one degree of sepa-
The group, which currently has
about 15 members and meets once
a month, began as a way to network
with like-minded women in the com-
munity who all shared the common
bond of being Jewish.
"The ultimate goal is not only to
help each other grow our businesses:'

noted Salama, "but also to have a
sounding board for ideas and oppor-
At a time when communication
often refers to a click of the mouse
or a tap on the phone, many busi-
ness owners are making new efforts
to establish face-to-face connections.
While Facebook and Linkedln cer-
tainly play an important role in busi-
ness networking, career experts agree
that the most effective way to connect
with other professionals remains the
old-fashioned way: in person.
"There's something to be said for
human interaction:' said Salama. "You
get a sense of someone's personality,
and word-of-mouth is by far the best
way to refer someone
That strategy is particularly valu-
able during difficult economic times.
Even with many area businesses
struggling, networking has been prov-
en to yield favorable results. Salama
noted that she has already been
referred to two new clients by group
members and has used the services of
four members of the group.

A Natural Bond
Nosh & Network, a business network-
ing group run under the auspices of
the Jewish Event Network, also is help-
ing many Detroiters make connections
and find employment. As with JPWN,
the mood is relaxed and casual.
"It's very low pressure and a very
comfortable atmosphere said Adam
Gottlieb, who runs the group. "We just

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