Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer celebrate 25 years Supplement to Jewish News, November 3, 2014 jewishnewsva.org | Business | November 3, 2014 | Jewish News | 15
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our community. We also have an article on a study conducted by Tel Aviv University on advertising. Even if you have nothing to do with advertising except watch television, you might find this information interesting. It’s only business…
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Cover photograph courtesy of Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer.
Upcoming Special Features Issue
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Terri Denison Editor
Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer 25, successful, philanthropic and happy
by Terri Denison
approximately $450 million of assets under management. It is located one floor below WEC’s offices in the PNC Bank Building on Main Street in downtown Norfolk. Chernitzer says that he and his partners would rarely agree when they’d walk into a meeting, “but after discussing, would always come out with a united decision. “We are three very different people, but share the same goal of always doing the right thing and providing great service,” says Chernitzer. Wall always likes to say, “We are a small firm, but we provide big service.” “Our vision,” says Einhorn, who is the firm’s managing shareholder, “was to break the mold of CPAs, to be more like business consultants than bean counters.
hey were three guys in their 30s working at one of the most respected accounting firms in Virginia, one already a partner, the other two ready to become partners, when they shocked their families, friends and their co-workers and packed up and started their own firm, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer. “Half my friends said I was crazy,” says Alvin Wall, CPA, founding shareholder, “and the other half said I had lost my mind.” That was Nov. 1, 1989. “It was a surprise to a lot of people,” says Marty Einhorn, CPA/ABV, CVA, founding shareholder, “but I felt confident that the three of us would be successful.” After 25 years, it’s obvious that Einhorn was correct in his confidence. “Our initial goal was to be a firm of no more than 20 to 25 people,” says Jeff Chernitzer, CPA/PFS, founding shareholder of WEC and president of Wealthquest, LLC, a WEC affiliate. “We wanted to keep it small and family-friendly, but we realized that as long as we hired the right Jeff Chernitzer, Alvin Wall and Marty Einhorn people, we could get as large as needed.” And, he says, they learned early on We wanted to be active parts of our clients’ business life. And, we wanted to have fun at the same time.” that they couldn’t do it all on their own. Chernitzer echoes those sentiments. “We wanted to Today, the CPA firm employs 85 people. Its wealth management and investment advisory affiliate, be part of our clients’ team and a fun place to work.” continued on page 18 Wealthquest, LLC, opened in 2000 and currently has
Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer makes charity centerpiece of its silver anniversary year in business “Tzedakah” and “Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer” have become synonymous in Tidewater. Maybe that’s one reason the CPA firm that Alvin Wall, Marty Einhorn and Jeff Chernitzer founded a quarter century ago is among the most successful in the region with clients in a range of industries, including non-profits. To mark 25 years in business, the firm wanted to make a statement, “to do something more than just throw a party,” according to Alvin Wall. “It had to reflect our commitment to the community, which is such a major part of our mission.” Working with Rubin Communications Group, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C. (WEC) launched “25 Ways of Giving Back.” Management solicited nominations from clients and staff to select the 25 area charities to which the practice would donate time or money. In typical WEC fashion, it grew to 29 charitable organizations. Employees are teaming up to volunteer at events, collect funds and make donations, including a signature project of the silver anniversary celebration. To kick off the project, the executives of the charitable organizations were all invited to lunch at WEC’s office. “It was great to see them exchange ideas and make plans to coordinate programs and assist each other,” says Susan Einhorn, one of the firm’s shareholders. “We are very excited about our 25th year in business,” says Jeff Chernitzer. “We have always believed in giving back to the community so this really fits in with what we like to do and makes this anniversary very special.” Serving on non-profit boards is not only encouraged at Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer, it’s expected, and the founding shareholders serve as role models. Marty Einhorn is president of the Simon Family JCC and is on the audit and finance committees for the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. He is also on the board of Young Audiences of Virginia, Hospitality for the Homeless, Horizons Hampton Roads, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Tidewater Winds, and For Kids. In addition, he has coached youth basketball at the Simon Family JCC for 12 years. continued on page 19
jewishnewsva.org | Business | November 3, 2014 | Jewish News | 17
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continued from page 17
Both goals have rung true. Clients are long-term and WEC is consistently voted and named one of the area’s best places to work. The typical CPA firm focuses on the number of hours worked, but not WEC, says Susan Einhorn, a shareholder who joined the firm 12 years ago. “We have talented people and a family-oriented atmosphere. We have reasonable hours, which helps to promote community.” The firm’s philosophy allows younger people more opportunities for quicker promotions, resulting in a high retention rate and a generally happier work environment. Wall notes, “We want our employees to understand that to be happy at work, they need to be happy at home. Thus, we encourage everyone to make time for soccer matches, baseball games and piano recitals. We don’t want anyone to feel compelled to miss important life cycle events. Our employees are professionals and they will make up for these hours on their own schedules. Obviously we must meet our clients’ deadlines and demands; however, when we can arrange our workload to incorporate our family responsibilities, we believe it leads to an elevated level of satisfaction within our firm.” “Even though three of us started the firm, it feels like the entire partner group and entire firm is part of the family,” says Marty Einhorn. “The three of us, hopefully, pass the culture down to the other partners—to do the right thing. After all, there’s plenty of business out there,” says Chernitzer. “Ours is not the norm,” Einhorn says, though he notes that throughout the nation there are other firms that share their practice philosophy. The three men had a goal 25 years ago to be able to successfully transition the firm to the next generation of firm leaders and to the next generation of clients. Wanting it to survive beyond themselves, the three principals wrote into their shareholder agreement that they would give up ownership at age 65. “Even though we all agreed to transfer the ownership upon age 65, we all plan to stay actively involved with the firm and our clients,” says Wall. “We still feel like we have a lot to offer.”
“We’re not driven by profits,” notes Einorn. In fact, the three original principals are now minority shareholders in their own firm. “We want the firm to survive beyond us.” Today there are 11 shareholders. “Our real goal,” says Einhorn, “is to be the best at what we do in our market – not the biggest, but the best.” “When it comes to the community, we all feel a tremendous responsibility. All of our partners like that about the firm. While they may not be as passionate as the three of us, it is part of the reason why they are here,” says Einhorn. Chernitzer says they suggest employees join a non-profit organization “that you’re passionate about. Don’t join just to ‘network.’” One of Chernitzer’s first volunteer activities took place at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. “I credit Betsy Karotkin because she encouraged me to be co-chair of YAD (Young Adult Division). That kept me involved with the Jewish community.” After the Walls moved to Norfolk so Alvin’s wife, Nancy, would be closer to her family, it was Morty Goldmeier who convinced Wall he should get involved with the Federation. “I remember sitting between Sam Sandler and Tavia Gordon at Super Sunday worker training. What better way to get introduced to Jewish philanthropy!” says Wall. Ever since, Wall has been trying to set an example by being an active member of the Jewish community. He has served as treasurer and president of the UJFT and is presently the vice chair of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation. The three believe that “you can build your business by helping grow your community,” says Wall. Einhorn’s bar was set high by Lois and Barry Einhorn. “My whole life, people have told me how great my parents are,” says Einhorn. “I’m just trying to live up to the example of my parents.” Twenty-five years ago these three came together to create a work environment and product they could be proud of and pass onto others, and still have time to give to the community and enjoy their lives. From any perspective, it seems they have accomplished their goals.
Business continued from page 17
Since moving to Virginia Beach in 1981, Alvin Wall has been involved with many non-profits. He is immediate past president of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and its treasurer. He chairs the Sandler Family Campus governing committee and serves on the board of the United Way of South Hampton Roads and is immediate past chairman of the United Way Foundation. He is vice chair of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and chairman of its grants committee. He is also chairman of the finance committee and member of the board of trustees at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. In addition, he is a member of the TowneBank Norfolk advisory board and the treasurer and board member at Bayville Golf Club. Jeff Chernitzer is a significant supporter of his alma mater, Old Dominion University, serving on the investment committee for the University’s foundations, the executive committee and is the past chair of the Athletic Foundation. He is also a past board member of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Beth Sholom Home and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is the past president of the Tidewater Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, B’nai Brith Youth Organization advisor and coached little league baseball for 11 years. “It’s truly extraordinary to work for a company that believes so strongly in its commitment to the community, “says Heather Sunderlin, director of employee services. “It re-energizes everyone on the team to get involved and find out how they can make a difference.” The organizations that will benefit from Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer’s 25th year in business are: Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia Chapter American Heart Association Animal Resources of Tidewater Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, Inc. Chesapeake Bay Academy Educational Foundation Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Chrysler Museum of Art d’ART Center Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula For Kids, Inc. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Jewish Family Service of Tidewater Jr. Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, Inc. Norfolk Botanical Garden Society, Inc. Norfolk Collegiate School Portsmouth Community Health Center Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia Susan G. Komen Tidewater The Academy of Music The Up Center United Way of South Hampton Roads Virginia Beach SPCA Virginia Society of CPA’s Virginia Zoological Society VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads Young Audiences of Virginia
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Steering committee 2014–2015 Kirk Levy, co-chair Faith Jacobson, co-chair Jody Balaban David Calliot Deb Casey Andrew Fox Byron Harrell Shira Itzhak David Kamer Gary Kell Scott Levin Janet Mercadante
Anat Mor Charles Nusbaum Barbara Rosenblatt Mike Salasky Ralph Soussan Todd Waldman Adam White Greg Zittrain
29 projects debut on expanded Slingshot guide highlighting innovation NEW YORK ( JTA)—An alternative Hebrew school program in New York City, a digital repository for Jewish texts and a synagogue-based bakery in Tulsa, Okla., that employs mentally ill adults are among the 29 Jewish groups listed for the first time in the annual Slingshot guide to innovative Jewish projects. The 2014-15 guide published Monday, Oct. 20 features 82 of what it touts as North America’s “most innovative” organizations and projects. This year the list, previously limited to 50 groups, expanded dramatically. In addition, Washington and Midwest editions and a supplement highlighting
women’s organizations also were published. Despite the added slots, Slingshot officials said in a news release, this year’s process for selecting organizations and projects “has been more competitive than ever before, as the total number of applicants has dramatically increased.” Launched in 2005 by a group of donors in their 20s and 30s, the Slingshot guide evaluates North American Jewish organizations based on “their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results.” Leaders of included groups have described the guide as a “stamp of recognition” akin to being listed favorably in a Zagat restaurant guide. Newly included groups are the Altamont Bakery; Asylum Arts; Beit T’Shuvah: Youth Services; Eshel, Inc.; The iCenter; iEngage-The Engaging Israel Project; Jewish Disaster Response Corps; Jewish Kids Groups; Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington @ Adas Israel; The Jewish Journey Project; Jewish Renaissance Project at Penn Hillel Jewish Student Connection; Jewish World Watch; JScreen; JLens Investor Network; LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture; LE MOOD; Makom; Online Jewish Academy; RespectAbilityUSA; Righteous Conversations Project; Ritualwell; Shabbat Tent; Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC); SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity; SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva; TAMID Investment Group; The Sefaria Project; and TI Fellowship. The full guide, including supplements, can be downloaded at http://www.slingshotfund.org/order/.
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Business Overdoing It: Multiple perspectives confuse consumers Shifting images in advertisements can create a negative feeling about a product, says Tel Aviv University researcher Tel Aviv—Television commercials for luxury vehicles pack a lot in their 30-second running times: the camera offers quick shots of the soft leather upholstery, the shiny colors, the state-of-the-art entertainment system, and the four-wheel drive. But these multiple angles and shifting perspectives have a negative impact on consumer evaluation of products, according to a new study from a Tel Aviv University researcher. Dr. Yael Steinhart of TAU’s Recanati Business School and her collaborators Yuwei Jiang of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Rashmi Adaval of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Robert S. Wyer Jr. of Chinese University of Hong Kong say that multiple angles and perspectives in commercials may
actually prevent consumers from forming positive associations about the products. The researchers found this to be particularly true for consumers who imagine using the products themselves in the course of evaluating them, according to the study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research. “We have shown through four different studies that the perspective shift has a negative effect when consumers conjure personal narratives about the advertised product,” says Steinhart. “On the other hand, the effect of perspective shift may be positive if consumers are only intent on collecting information about the advertised product.”
Keep it simple Over 1,000 people took part in four separate studies conducted in Hong Kong and the U.S. Using questionnaires, an eye-tracking system and a memory-based cognitive study, the researchers measured distinct responses to ads featuring pictures from both similar and multiple angles. They then analyzed the impact of these responses on product evaluation. In one study, participants were asked to view an ad for a resort hotel and to form a story about their own experience at the resort. There were two types of ads—each consisting of four photos. In one type, the images were from the same perspective, and in the other, the images were from multiple angles. Participants who viewed the photos
“Marketers want to provide as much information as possible about a product, but too much information from multiple perspectives may backfire.” from different perspectives expressed more difficulty in conjuring a narrative and were also more likely to form a negative impression of the resort. “There are practical implications for this research,” says Steinhart. “Marketers want to provide as much information as possible about a product, but we have shown that the default strategy of consumers is to construct a personal narrative when forming their evaluation, and too much information from multiple perspectives may backfire.” Stay focused “The best thing a company can do is allow the consumer to imagine himself in a scene with the product, without providing too much distracting stimuli—or information from too many perspectives,” Steinhart advises. “The consumer finds it too difficult to move from one perspective to another, remembers less about the product and—ultimately—likes the product less.”
22 | Jewish News | November 3, 2014 | Business | Jewishnewsva.org
Business Business & Legal Society makes waves with lunchtime event at ZIM
Business & Legal Society lunch and discussion took place at ZIM Integrated Shipping Services’ USA headquarters. article and photographs by Laine Mednick Rutherford
shipping container has a finite amount of space in which to fit cargo. So, too, does the boardroom at the ZIM USA office building in Norfolk—in relation to how many people it can seat for lunch. Fortunate, then, were the 32 members and guests of the Business & Legal Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, who accepted an invitation to attend a special lunchtime discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 8 with the president of the North American and Caribbean branch of the Israeli company, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. President Lea Bogatch-Genossar was an honest, witty and educational host. The first woman in ZIM’s history to hold this top executive position, Bogatch-Genossar spoke to her guests about some of the realities of running
an international shipping line, the current state of the maritime/shipping industry, commerce, politics, and the recent, troubling, anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian ‘Block the Boat’ campaign. Despite being part of an industry that can be extremely challenging, Bogatch-Genossar says it’s the only work she can imagine. In fact, she has been with ZIM since 1992 in a variety of positions. The special event was supposed to include a tour of the ZIM headquarters, but when given a choice between hearing more from their host, or seeing offices and cubicles, the guests overwhelmingly chose to continue the discussion. After more than two hours, Bogatch-Genossar said goodbye to her new friends in the community. “I think it’s very heartwarming to see that everyone here took time off from their work—they’re busy people. It’s very impressive that they do this as a Jewish group, and we were so glad to be able to do this today, I hope to see everyone again.” For their part, attendees said they thoroughly
Lea Bogatch-Genossar, ZIM USA president left, meets guests Samantha Golden, Greg Zittrain, Ralph Soussan and Todd Waldman.
At ZIM USA headquarters: Greg Zittrain, Kirk Levy, Lea Bogatch-Genossar, Rick Yarow, David Calliott and Steve Leon.
Deborah Casey introduces Lea Bogatch-Genossar to attendees.
enjoyed the discussion, and the unique opportunity to learn more about the shipping industry and ZIM from its president.
Lea Bogatch-Genossar and Arnold Leon.
The Business & Legal Society offers networking, social and philanthropic opportunities for Jewish professionals. To get involved, or to attend the next Business & Legal Society event—a special evening with Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 pm at the Sandler Family Campus, visit JewishVA. org/BusinessAndLegalSociety.
David Kamer, Ralph Soussan, Tobias Eisenlohr and Evan Levitt.
jewishnewsva.org | Business | November 3, 2014 | Jewish News | 23
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Business Social entrepreneur wins 2014 Charles Bronfman prize for bringing solar light to millions NEW YORK—The 10th annual Charles Bronfman Prize was awarded to social entrepreneur Sam Goldman, founder and chief customer officer of d.light design, a certified B Corporation dedicated to providing the most reliable, affordable and accessible solar lighting and power systems for the developing world. Charles Bronfman presented Goldman with the award at a ceremony attended by leaders in government, Jewish affairs, philanthropy and the emerging field of social entrepreneurship. Each year, The Charles Bronfman Prize with an accompanying $100,000 award celebrates the accomplishments of an individual or team under the age of 50 whose humanitarian work is informed by Jewish values and has global impact, changing lives and inspiring the next generations. “Over the past 10 years, our judges have done an exceptional job of selecting a group of laureates who have made, and continue to make, a tremendous mark on the world and Sam is no exception,” said Charles Bronfman, presenting the award to Goldman in a ceremony at the New-York Historical Society. “Like the fellowship he is joining, Sam is truly a remarkable young humanitarian capable of inspiring next generations, and it’s an honor to welcome him into the Prize family.”
Goldman, 34, is the youngest and first Canadian recipient of The Charles Bronfman Prize. He is also the first recipient recognized for humanitarian work pursued through a for-profit social enterprise. d.light designs, manufactures and distributes solar lighting products for the developing world. Today, more than 1.6 billion people live by the light of kerosene because they lack access to reliable electricity. Kerosene is dangerous, dirty and produces a low quality light. As a for-profit social enterprise, d.light has been able to scale rapidly, producing the world’s most affordable and durable solar lighting products, and improving the health, education, earnings potential and overall quality of life for nearly 40 million people in some of the world’s poorest areas—9 million of whom are children. “d.light is a part of a new phenomenon in the world of entrepreneurs who are doing good social work,” said Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, speaking on behalf of the international panel of judges who selected Goldman for the Prize. “One in four people on this earth have no access to electricity. That means all the devices we use for education and communication are unavailable. Rather than simply wringing his hands about it, Sam decided to do something. If there has ever
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Business been an exemplar of tikkun olam—repairing the world—it is what Sam and d.light do every day of the week.” M. R. Rao, CEO and managing director of SKS Microfinance Ltd.—the largest microfinance institution in India and second largest in the world—gave testimony about the impact that of Sam’s work. “In India, the poor don’t send their kids to school, they send their kids to work. But because of Sam and d.light, the kids are able to study once the sun goes down. Mothers no longer live in fear that kerosene will cause their homes to burn down. That is how the impact of d.light is felt.” “We set out with a goal to reach 100 million people by the year 2020, and in each year we’ve been in business, we’ve reached more people than in all previous years combined,” Goldman said in his acceptance speech. “In all likelihood, 50,000 people will be moved from kerosene to clean, sustainable solar energy today. They are creating a new generation—a renewable energy generation.” At the ceremony, Goldman announced Power for All a new initiative, separate from d.light, that will bring public and private institutions together, dedicated to delivering universal power access before 2030. “Power is fundamental to economic development and to human development,” he said. “The equivalent of what a U.S. household uses in just a few days can make the difference between a country with a high quality of life and a country with a very low quality of life.” “Sam and Dad are so much alike,” says Stephen Bronfman, Charles’ son and a co-founder of The Charles Bronfman Prize. “He is generous of spirit and grew up understanding that helping people is just what you do. He has used business principals to make a difference—and he is a proud Canadian.” “Over the years, we have been fortunate to recognize humanitarians who have made a difference in education, health, the environment, human rights and poverty, and when we were deciding upon this year’s recipient, we were struck by the fact that Sam and his partners at d.light are having an impact in all of these fields,” says Prize co-founder Ellen Bronfman
d.light’s Impact: By the Numbers
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• 37,912,976 lives empowered •9 ,478,244 school-aged children reached with solar lighting •$ 1,284,484,188 saved in energyrelated expenses •1 3,681,503,384 productive hours created for working and studying • 2,997,177 tons of CO2 offset •5 3,292 MWh generated from renewable energy source
Hauptman, Charles’ daughter. Nominations for The Charles Bronfman Prize 2015, are now being accepted. Selection criteria and nominating forms are available at www.thecharlesbronfmanprize.com.
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Jewish News Business Nov 3, 2014