Thank you so much for your time, Duvi. I know that you are an extremely busy person. Can you share your background with us?
Duvi: I was raised in Brooklyn and studied in Israel for many years. My wife Esther is originally from Baltimore. I spent several years of entrepreneurship in the Baltimore real estate scene, and started a unique School there for teens who were not successful in the mainstream system helping keep them off the streets by offering afternoon vocational training and internship programs. I was always driven to make a real positive difference in the world.
Yitzi: You are now managing 3 or 4 companies. What inspired you to start them?
Duvi: The 2008-09 recession hit the real estate industry particularly hard, so I got a real sense of what so many business people and professionals around us, from all industries, were suffering. I realized that it’s imperative to form a network that can provide men and women of all ages and stages with the resources to succeed in an ever changing economy and formed the Parnassah Network and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber Of Commerce.
Yitzi: There are thousands of Chambers of Commerce. What is most unique about what you have created?
Duvi: This effort was launched on my own, as one man with a burning mission, but progressed into a broad and multifaceted entity unlike any other. Today the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and related organizations reaches all corners of the globe, as well as the highest echelons of business and governmental powers, while providing unique, forward thinking resources for the everyday man and woman looking to progress towards their financial dreams.
Yitzi: Woah. That is definitely unusual. My local Pikesville chamber of commerce definitely doesn’t have that scope. So, based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs launching a new business?
Duvi: Number one, they should fully understand what it entails to run a successful businesses – the time, capital, risk, etc. – before jumping in. They should also make sure to familiarize themselves with all the contemporary resources available – such as technology, outsourcing, etc. – to make the business run as well oiled and cost efficient as possible.
Yitzi: Ok that make sense. My field is marketing so i’m most interested in that. As you know, marketing is in a constant state of flux. Which marketing suggestion would you give to someone starting a business?
Duvi: I believe that they need to make sure to have a professional and proactive social media presence. That is the key to projecting the right image, and reaching the largest potential customer base, in today’s world. This will only become even more crucial with time.
Yitzi: I’m sure over the years, because of all of your experiences, your companies have developed some good institutional memory. What are some of the best strategies you would suggest that job seekers can use immediately to help find a good job?
Duvi: Successful careers and businesses don’t happen “immediately.” They take time and effort, and there are always ups and downs. I will always come back to stressing the importance of networking. Just having talent and skill is not enough. These days, there are so many platforms and events at which one can network, in addition to the timeless opportunities for person to person networking. Take advantage of that, and chances are that you will reach the individual or business who is seeking someone with precisely your skill.
Yitzi: I did a google image search of your name and you are surrounded by famous people in so many of your pictures. It is clear that you are a great networker! What do you think are the secrets to networking with important or famous people?
Duvi: Networking is essentially based on a domino effect. The more quality relationships you have, the further those relationships can get you. Ask the people who already know and respect you to introduce you to others that you can benefit from forging a relationship with.
Yitzi: President Barack Obama said that PN and your Chamber of Commerce “Provides a platform that highlights opportunities, employment & collaboration to help men and women achieve the American dream.” What do you think are the most important reasons why your organization has achieved the success it has achieved?
Duvi: In one word, unity. We unified so many different individuals and businesses from so many walks of life, locations and industries. When you break down these barriers, people can be a whole lot more productive and successful. One individual’s success drives another’s success.
I believe that just as we have Labor Day, to acknowledge labor and the efforts of the Labor movement, one day we should also have an Economic Development Day; a day on which Americans think of ways to find jobs for others and stimulate the economy.
Yitzi: That’s very inspiring. You were recently honored at in front of 17 US Senators for your contributions to the community on Jewish American Heritage day. Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with?
Duvi: I’ve had the privilege of meeting and discussing pertinent issues with a whole range of individuals of influence, including Vice President Mike Pence, US Senators and congressman from all different states both democrats and republicans, I am a close friend of Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt, Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, David Friedman US Ambassador to Israel and a host of highly influential Israeli ministers and Knesset members.
Yitzi: That pretty incredible. What was that like? I think I would be intimidated by that!
Duvi: It was very rewarding, particularly when you recognize that your interactions with them can make a real, substantive difference to the people around you. Even the most famous dignitaries are “regular” people at heart and they enjoy being treated as such. Level with them as human beings and you can impacts their hearts.
Yitzi: Back to a more serious discussion. Your Chamber has also been at forefront in the battle against anti-Semitism. It seems as if Neo Nazis have been much more vocal latterly. What do you think has caused this, and what can be done to reverse this trend?
Duvi: Unfortunately, there have always been, and will always be, some hateful people in the world. It is important that those people, and their ideas, are marginalized by mainstream society. This is the inherent challenge that democracy poses. We cherish our freedom of speech and assembly, but the bad people can take advantage of that to make their warped voices heard. It is crucial that we counter their hateful, false narratives in a powerful way, so that these negative movements should not draw in others.
Yitzi: You have been at the forefront against UN anti-Semitism and the BDS movement. Can you explain to our readers why you believe the BDS movement is wrong? Someone once said that just as the US is placing sanctions on Russia for its occupation of Ukraine, perhaps there should be sanction against Israel for the occupation of the West Bank. What is your response to that?
Duvi: Look beyond the superficial rhetoric and you’ll see that the BDS movement has nothing to do with the supposed “occupation.” That is why the BDS movement is so dangerous; they work to hide their true motives and goals. The movement is filled with die hard radicals and anti-Semites who inherently hate Israel – regardless of the country’s size or policies – as well as western society as a whole. The BDS movement’s main victims are unrelated to the Israeli government or diplomatic corp. The victims are ordinary, non political people who are working hard to feed their families.
In fact, Palestinian laborers are among the movement’s greatest victims. Countless Palestinians do not have well paying jobs, or any jobs at all, as a direct result of BDS efforts against the Israeli businesses who employed them, or would employ them.
Yitzi: Duvi, you have no idea how inspired I am of your accomplishments. You have shown what one person with a vision and passion can accomplish. Thank you!