By Dana Asher, Director of Fundraising & Marketing Communications
Department of Institutional Advancement
By the end of January, the YU Wall Street Group had already held its second networking event of the year. Following the well-attended program on “Mobility as a Service,” which took on the topic of how to move people from A to B efficiently, cheaply and safely, a stellar panel of experts came together at Herrick, Feinstein LLP to look ahead at “The Markets in 2020.” The event took place on Jan. 28, 2020. Erica Markowitz, an associate at Herrick, was instrumental in hosting the event at her firm.
“Historically, we had avoided having events in January when it’s cold and people have yeshiva break, but the demand from the community was there, so we thought it made sense to have a discussion about the direction of the markets this year,” said Lawrence Askowitz ’87YC, co-chair of the Wall Street Group.
Moderated by Ahron Herring ’91YUHS, ’95YC, YU’s chief investment officer, panelists included Rick Bensignor, founder of The Bensignor Group; Morris DeFeo, Corporate Department partner and chair at Herrick, Feinstein LLP; Jason Horowitz ’94YC, Millennium Management portfolio manager; and Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citi.
The YU Wall Street Group, under the aegis of the Office of Alumni Affairs, provides opportunities for professionals in finance to learn about current industry issues from experts in the field, network with one another and assist students and young alumni interested in pursuing careers in finance.
Zvi Weiss ’71YC, ’74R explained that he attends the Wall Street Group for the networking, but he also tries to help students when asked. “If they’re in data science, I try to point them in a direction of what to look for at my company,” said Weiss, a certified IT specialist at IBM.
Student mentoring was on Askowitz’s mind, who, in welcoming the the attendees, also encouraged them to help guide the YU students who often attend these professional networking events.
To support this effort, Askowitz introduced a program to formally connect alumni with current students, the newly launched YU-MVP (Mentoring Volunteer Program). This initiative will match students with alumni and friends of YU who can share their own experiences and offer advice in navigating career choices, internships and professional paths.
Rochelle Ginsburg ’19SB, a graduate of the Sy Syms School of Business Executive MBA program, finds the Wall Street Group events “a good opportunity for me to continue my education in the financial world.” A marketing consultant at RG Consulting, she said that the networking events keep her apprised of what’s happening in the financial sector and keeps her connected to her alma mater.
In introducing the panel, Askowitz noted that “Tobias [Levkovitch] is a great speaker on the equity markets and was my first call, and he quickly responded that he would be delighted to speak to the group. Jason [Horowitz] has attended a number of past events, and we were fortunate to coordinate with his schedule and have him join to talk about debt. It was actually Elisha Tropper [’89YC] who suggested bringing Rick Bensignor to add the extra dynamic of behavioral economics to the discussion, which really enhanced the commentary. And Herrick has been such a wonderful host to so many YU professional events that we were thrilled when they also said that Morris DeFeo would be available to add his perspective.”
Markowitz reciprocated the shout-out to Herrick. “Everyone wins when this happens,” she reported. “We are happy to host and introduce finance professionals to Herrick Feinstein, and we gain a wonderful opportunity to connect with Yeshiva University and its professional networking groups.”
David Maryles ’91SB, founder of Joshua Caleb Advisors LLC, noted that the Wall Street Group provides a comfortable place to meet new people in the same field. “People come with the right mindset,” he explained. “They shake hands and meet one another…there’s no angst in the room. I’ve reached out to attendees after the event, and it’s really easy to connect.”
Rami Cohen, CEO of Telesofia Medical, a platform that educates and engages patients with personalized patient videos accessible on any device, was a first-time attendee. Networking was a big draw. “Plus,” he said with a smile, “maybe I’ll get some good market projections for 2020!”
Get more information on YU’s professional networking groups.