Lecture Series Attendee Feedback
addition to his business acumen and intense love
of philanthropic endeavors, Zalman also lends some
of his time to lecturing business students in several
locations. What follows are some comments from attendees
of the 1996 Cornell Business Lecture Series, where
Zalman and other business colleagues, was a featured
Silber is a very likeable person. As Ellie Gordon
mentioned, likeability can get you far in life.
In addition, I also like the way he attributes his
success to others.
before his years is a huge understatement. His values,
advice, outlook and business experiences seem to
belong to someone much older. I would credit both
his parents and his religious studies.
Silber is a great role model because he takes responsibility
for his actions. He is responsible for his employees
and their safety, his tenants and theirs, not to
mention his large family. In the short time he spoke
with us, his behavior, ethics and personality became
quite apparent. I would imagine that his being natural
and open is how he acts in business, and this makes
him a pleasure to deal with. I think his public
persona may be a result of unconsciously trying
to be “normal” and eliminate the mystery
of being a religious person.
Silber’s lecture hit home for me particularly.
As a life insurance agent, his experience in this
area is particularly meaningful to me. While I plan
to call him to discuss his experience in this area
more thoroughly (as it is perhaps more interesting
to me than the general class). I found his story
intriguing and inspiring. As an insurance agent,
I can respect his accomplishments in that field
and the persistence and creativity that made them
possible. While his ideas were certainly different
from those of other speakers, his unflagging energy
and persistence was apparent.
have been two speakers who have made an impression
on me – Zalman Silber and Fernando Mateo.
They are an inspiration. They exhibited pure, raw
energy, determination, integrity, and sense of communal
responsibility. They are smart to access the politicians
to implement their ideas. They both stressed, n
one way or another, to take responsibility and to
not pass off the blame. Zalman made another suggestion
which struck me as logical at the time, yet now,
much more significant. “Think through an idea
from start to finish.”
apartment complex in Brooklyn is a fascinating story.
It is amazing to me that he was able to overhaul
a project, change it image, improve its community
standing and enjoy a 99% occupancy rate within a
year and a half, at a time when Congress could not
negotiate a budget within four months.
changes that he made, i.e., increasing security,
refurbishing, etc. were not creative nor innovative.
However, his actions emphasized his desire to better
the welfare of others. The goal to reduce the incidents
of rape wasn’t implemented along the way –
it was initiated immediately. His humanitarian side
is prominently displayed with his sincerity. He
is someone I would want to do business with and
could only hope to emulate his upstanding business
Silber combines the outstanding qualities shown
by some of the other speakers. He is incredibly
driven, and has an irrepressible personality. There
is probably not a boardroom in America that he could
not win over with his acumen, wit, and integrity,
the latter springing from his spiritual approach
to doing business. His integrity not only drives
him to try to improve society; it has also served
him as a business asset in that he has achieved
immeasurably through the strength of his character.
Mr. Silber’s entrepreneurial and societal
accomplishments are extraordinary, their success
is not mythical or ethereal. He is, in truth, an
ordinary guy from an ethnic working family in New
York who has simply worked his tail off to achieve
Jane P. Boyle
was obvious that Zalman Silber had so much drive
bottled up inside him that he was always thinking
of and creating new ideas. I certainly believe him
when he said that he only required three hours of
sleep each night. He seems to have a gift for obtaining
the interest in other people in helping him to create
his various business visions.
Silber’s drive displayed the power of goal-driven
motivation. The man is a dynamo. His life is phenomenal.
His story of selling insurance to the Syrians and
the Italians impressed me the most. I don’t
think I meet too many people with the kind of clarity
of thought who can cut through the traditional barriers
of communication and culture the way Silber did.
I think about his stories, they make such sense,
and there simply seems to be no limitations to his
idea stream. I can only hope to be that creative
(as well as have as much energy). Too many people
voluntarily wear blinders that restrict opportunities.
also admire the strength that Mr. Silber receives
from his religion. Although I don’t gather
the same strength from my religion that he does
from his, I admire him for understanding that life
is more than business.
Silber is a person from whom a lot can be learned.
His upbringing and the fact that he took on family
responsibilities early in life made him an unusually
mature person. A winning attribute of Zalman’s
is that he has humor, can exercise self-criticism,
and does not take himself seriously. He seems like
a very trustworthy person, and the stores he tells
seem to reconfirm this belief. It is examples like
his, of which we fortunately have some in Turkey
too, who keep society’s belief in truth, faith,