Serving Winnipeg's Jewish Community Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn Youtube

The Millennial panel (l-r): Moderator Bryan Borzykowski, Tali Litvak-Kor, Daniel Moscovitch, Daniel Worb, Alex Meron Gamili

By BERNIE BELLAN
Just who are millennials? According to the most commonly accepted definition – as coined by authors Neil Howe and William Strauss in their 1991 book, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, a millennial is anyone born between the years 1982 and 2004.

 

 

Other definitions, however, use different criteria, ranging from as early a birth year as 1976, although the cut off year of 2004 seems to be universally accepted.
So, when the Rady JCC’s Jewish Business Network held a panel discussion featuring four millennials (Tali Litvak-Kor, Daniel Worb, Alex Meron Gamili, and Daniel Moscovitch) - all of whom are members of the Jewish Business Network, and a moderator (Bryan Borzykowski) who said he was born too early to be considered a millennial (1981), well Bryan, according to the New York Times, Newsweek, and Time Magazine: You’re a millennial!

Does it really make any difference though whether someone was born in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or the 2000s? To listen to these young people (and I say young because I’m not) talk about their careers and aspirations, as an audience numbering well over 70 people did on November 27 at the campus, the one overriding factor they all had in common was the importance that social media play in their lives. Big surprise there!
I suppose the fact that here we had five bright and energetic millennials (and here I’m including Bryan) discussing what it’s like to be a millennial, if we had wanted to hear from a millennial who isn’t bright and energetic, we could have gone looking for someone holed up in their parents’ basement playing video games, but then again, it would have been difficult to drag that person out on a cold winter night to appear on a millennial panel.
Oh yes, apparently there was something else each of these millennials had in common: They were all Jewish. But until I asked any of them to answer whether being Jewish made any difference at all in their business networking, the word “Jewish” wasn’t mentioned once during the entire evening.
That shouldn’t come as any surprise; after all, if you’re in business, does it really make any difference what ethnic or religious backgrounds other people have – especially to millennials? Actually it does. And the proof is the resounding success that the “Jewish” Business Network has had in attracting members.

So – if Jews want to belong to a business network that is by and large Jewish, there must be a reason for that. While I didn’t pursue my line of questioning with the panel members beyond asking them whether being Jewish made any difference in their business networking, based on my conversations with other JBN members, my impression is that, all things being equal, Jews – no matter what country they come from, feel a bond with other Jews and like the idea of forming business relationships with other Jews. (Also, as Daniel Moscovitch pointed out, Israelis like to use being Jewish to get a deal – also no big surprise, eh?)
But, being born Jewish may not mean much any more to younger Jews – who, according to demographic data, hardly identify as Jews at all. While there are some 20 and 30 year olds who have been coming to meetings of the JBN, by and large, the typical age of members would be somewhere in the 40s. Since a good many of the members are also self-employed, it stands to reason that it’s not all that easy to establish oneself in business until your 40s – which explains the average age of JBN members.

Still, with all that as preamble, what did we learn from the panelists on Nov. 27, also from the very engaging moderator, the aforementioned Bryan Borzykowski, who was able to keep the conversation flowing throughout the evening with his witty observations?
Each of the panelists was asked to introduce themselves.
Tali Litvak-Kor said she is an HR consultant (Her company’s name is “Career Mind Consulting”), focusing on immigrants and newcomers to Winnipeg, helping them to find their first jobs. She added that she also helps employers with “headhunting”.

Daniel Moscovitch (whom I first met in Israel when he was playing hockey in a late-evening game organized by ex-Winnipegger Danny Spodek in Holon in August 2014), is a digital marketing specialist.
As Daniel explained to the crowd on November 27, “I got into it (digital marketing) by fluke. I lived in Israel for seven years,” he said. “After the army I was broke (as is almost everyone else after serving in the army). I got a job with a digital marketing company. I became the SEO (search engine optimization) manager.”
When Daniel returned to Winnipeg a couple of years ago, he said that “I decided to become my own boss, but had no idea to run a business.”

Daniel Worb joined the family business, Worb Financial, four years ago. “I’ve been focusing on insurance for businesses”, he said, including “group benefits”.

Alex Meron Gamili came to Winnipeg from Israel in 2017. In Israel he had owned a coffee bar for years. When he and his wife, Shani, moved here, they operated a mobile espresso bar for a year and a half before opening Joy Coffee Bar on Roblin. Alex still operates two mobile espresso bars and he told the audience that he is thinking of opening a second Joy Coffee Bar.

Following those introductions Bryan Borzykowski asked the panelists a series of questions, beginning with: “Is running a business different today?”
Daniel Moscovitch said: “Yes, my business is completely online…There’s a desirability among millennials to have more freedom…freedom…Millennial business owners and customers are looking for more than just a transaction; they want to know who they’re dealing with.”
Alex Meron Gamili said: “I’m an old fashioned guy. We (his wife and he) decided to go with the basics” when they opened Joy Coffee Bar.” (In an earlier story in this paper, Alex explained that Joy Coffee Bar “is not a restaurant – it’s a coffee bar” first and foremost – even though it does carry a variety of Israeli foods, including delicious shakshukah which I tried when I was there).

Bryan then asked whether any of the panelists wanted to comment on the notion that millennials don’t work hard? (He himself said he’s up working at 6:30 am as his job as a financial writer requires him to be in tune with what’s happening in New York City and Toronto, for instance.)
Daniel Worb refuted the notion that millennials aren’t hard working, insisting that they work just as hard as previous generations.
“Millennials have to be on social media,” he explained. “You have to be on Facebook and Instagram even if you hate being the person you hate to see on Facebook and Instagram!”

Bryan asked Tali Litvak-Kor, “What do people need to know about hiring millennials?”
Tali gave a detailed response, suggesting three primary aspects to what millennials are looking for in jobs:
“Millennials need a good reason to work for a company. Previously people used to work for a company even if they didn’t enjoy it.”
 “Having fun is very important to millennials,” Tali suggested. Providing them with such diversions as pool and ping pong tables, along with beer taps and allowing them to wear jeans to work is also very important to them, she said.
In that respect, “Winnipeg is a bit slow,” Tali added.
Finally, “flexibility as part of the job” is also very important to millennials (meaning flexibility in hours). Millennials “want to be able to manage hobbies and friends,” Tali suggested.
Daniel Worb added: “It’s harder for companies to retain millennials these days. Most companies don’t offer benefits. Young people are switching jobs” all the time.
But Daniel Moscovitch disagreed somewhat, saying “I don’t think it’s just the benefits. They have to buy into the company’s vision.
“Winnipeg is ten years behind other cities,” Moscovitch insisted, saying that he can make that observation “after having lived in Toronto and Vancouver….The Google campus has every thing you’d ever need and not want to leave,” he said.

Bryan asked Alex “what it’s like running a business in Winnipeg?”
Alex responded: “Most of my friends are not from here. When a Canadian guy opens a place he has all his friends on social media” who he can count on for support. Alex and his wife have had to build their business without that support network, he said.
Bryan asked Tali (who is from Israel): “Why did you come here?”
She answered: “When we had our first kid we were looking for a more peaceful place – one with a good work/life balance.
“Winnipeg is not too big and not too small,” she added.
Bryan made his own observation about having returned to Winnipeg with his wife and kids after having been away for many years: “I’ve been here for a year now. It’s a fantastic place to raise a family…it’s a different speed…you can run a business more cheaply, mortgages are less costly.”
Daniel Moscovitch, however, disagreed somewhat with Bryan, saying “it’s hard for people who’ve left Winnipeg who have hustle and drive to come back here – because there isn’t that much here.”
“Businesses have to realize,” he added, “that they can’t rely on the old ways of doing things. They have to use online marketing.
“There’s less competition here,” Daniel said.
Daniel Worb took issue with what Daniel Moscovitch claimed, saying “I think most people in Winnipeg do have that hustle.”
The problem for anyone in his business though, is “How do you convince a 25-year-old to buy life insurance if they’re at the bar and think they’re never going to die?”
Bryan asked Tali whether she had any advice for millennials going into a job interview.
She said, “Don’t take your phone out and place it on the desk during the interview.”

During the question and answer period I thought I would dare to broach the subject that, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, had simply not been brought up by any of the panelist: Whether being Jewish made any difference at all to any of them in terms of with whom they do business?
After a very long pause when no one seemed to want to respond, Daniel Moscovitch spoke up, saying: “Yes, it’s (being Jewish) is good and bad…It’s good for Israelis who think they deserve a good deal from you if you’re Jewish because you’re a ‘member of the tribe’.”
Bryan Borzykowski though, said being Jewish “hasn’t made a difference in my career.” (What he might have added, however, is that having the initials “BB” has been of great help.)
At that point, Blair Worb (father of Daniel and who happened to be sitting in the audience – even though he had told me earlier that day he wasn’t going to be coming to this event because the Jets were playing the Penguins that evening), chimed in with these words of advice:
“I started 30 years ago and I think Winnipeg is a great place to do business. There’re a lot of money people in this town that people don’t know about.”
Blair added: “The best time to knock on doors of business owners is on a Friday afternoon because the only one there is the business owner.”
Bryan asked some other interesting questions:
“How do you network?”
Daniel Moscovitch said he belongs to “BNI (Business Network International). We meet once a week; it’s a referral network.”

Bryan: “How many millennials are still living at home?” (At that point I put up my hand because I still have a millennial who seems to be living at home even though he owns two houses, an apartment, and a studio in the Exchange District – but he also likes to use our house as his base of operations. What are you going to do?)
Daniel Worb noted that he “lived at home until I was financially stable – around 26.” He also observed how much harder it is for millennials to buy a house, what with the “stress tests” for obtaining mortgages making it so much more difficult than used to be the case.

In closing, Bryan asked the panelists whether they had any final words of advice for millennials.
Daniel Moscovitch said: “Always learn from your mistakes.”
Tali said: “Get honest feedback….Do social media but referrals as well.”
Fittingly, Bryan’s

Add comment


Security code
Refresh