2016 Honoree

Jacky Teplitzky

The Jacky Teplitzky Team, Douglas Eliman

“Women have to learn to trust themselves and their power in the U.S. We live in a society that encourages men to be aggressive and confident. We, as women, need to empower women ourselves and shed our skin of past stereotypes. This is hard, I know, but I see progress with every new generation.”

What socio-political women’s issue do you care about the most? Do you feel that women are typically presented fairly in the media? Why or why not?

There are so many issues that’s it tough to choose, really. But, I’d say the fact that statistically there are more women in college and finishing with better grades than men, and yet, this doesn’t translate into their success in the workplace. Not to say women don’t succeed, but there is definitely a glass ceiling that our patriarchal society has yet to break. There’s not enough CEO women, women on boards, not enough women high up in politics–this needs to change. Of course they’re not presented fairly. There’s a host of issues, but I’d say that women are usually kept out of the more “serious” programming. Yes, there are women on talk shows and reality television, but when you get networks talking about serious issues, especially business, it’s so obviously still a man’s game.

What specific aspect of women’s rights in the U.S. could we change to set an example to the world? What will it take (apart from time) for women to be viewed as equal to men?

The world has often looked to us throughout our history for our human rights, businesses, and our politics. I think that we need more women in positions of power, it’s that simple. If we have more women running our country, the world will surely notice. But, just to say, there’s plenty of countries around the world that are far more equal than ours. Look at Scandinavia with their equal maternity-paternity leaves just as one example. Women have to learn to trust themselves and their power in the U.S. We live in a society that encourages men to be aggressive and confident. We, as women, need to empower ourselves and shed our skin of past stereotypes. This is hard, I know, but I see progress with every new generation.

Whatever profession you choose, do men see women as either a female rival with independence and strength, or someone inexperienced that needs to be managed, never as an equal? How do you show your male colleagues that you are an equal without stepping on their toes?

The fact is, the only way to show men that you are equal is through your knowledge and your ability. Unfortunately, women have to work harder and be smarter than men just to be seen as equals.

Do you feel the extreme left and right wings of U.S. politics are destroying the United in United States, or is it just healthy debate? Should the financing of political campaigns be the controlled by an independent authority?

It’s not a healthy debate. The extreme left and right are harming the U.S. They’re not focused on the issues, they’re focused on personal attacks, on petty politics, on making sure the other side is wrong. Yes, it’s clear that the insane amount of money in politics is harming our country.

What do you now know about yourself that you wish you knew ten/fifteen/twenty years ago? Do today’s young people face a bigger challenge than you did?

I know now that I work much better without a boss. I always thought I needed someone to look to for answers and I never thought I was capable of running a business. But, once I was in that position, the pressure was on, and I trusted myself. I realized that I flourished. And no, I faced much bigger challenges. I think that’s an issue. The young generation has it too easy and they take a lot for granted. I fought very hard to get where I am, and that’s made me a better businesswoman, but more importantly, a stronger person.

Do you feel that religion is on the decline in the Western World? Will it have an effect on U.S. society? If so, will it be good or bad?

Yes, statistically it is. In Europe, religion is declining dramatically. Churches are being renovated into party halls and people just aren’t that interested in organized religion. However, in the U.S. we’re seeing a slight rise in religion. I feel that people who are getting away from religion lose a sense of community and what to identify with. It’s good and bad: I don’t like religious extremism, but I think in our individualistic society it’s important to still feel connected to something bigger.

Can you tell us about one of the biggest challenges in your life that you think helped you become the person you are today? What was your best decision to date? Worst decision?

My biggest challenge was my immigration with my parents to Israel at age 10. I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t understand the culture, I left lots of family and friends. I took a boat from Chile to Israel that lasted 35 days. My parents had trouble adjusting too, and I had to fend for myself. Those first years were really “sink or swim” for me. To experience that at such an early point in my life I think defined a lot of who I am now.

My best decision was to have children. I know it’s a cliche, but I was sure it would never happen. I thought I would be a career woman, period. When I made the decision to have kids, even then I was nervous. But, looking back on all of it I truly could not be happier.

My worst decision was having my husband work on my team. We were going through a tough time financially, and it made sense at the moment for us to work side by side. But, in hindsight, it fundamentally changed our relationship, our dynamic, and there was no going back.

Who inspires you the most? If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Golda Meir. In a complete macho society, like Israel in the 40’s, she was the PM and running the country. She was the one who called Kissinger to send the planes for the Yom Kippur War. And, she wasn’t even Israeli, she was born in the U.S. As a young girl growing up in Israel, she inspired me. She showed me and all the young girls in Israel that everything that seemed impossible, was possible.

For dinner, Sean Connery, no question. I’ve always had a huge crush on him and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have dinner and talk to him.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

I’d like to have the power to read people’s emotions. So often what people feel is so different than what they say or even think. I really love getting to know people at an emotional level, I love understanding who people are.

Favorite: Book/writer? Song/singer? Movie/actor? Cuisine?

Isabel Allende is my favorite author and Start Up Nation is my favorite book.
Favorite singer: that’s so tough, but I used to love Madonna, and I really love Shakira.
Favorite song: also impossible, but I’ve got to say Careless Whisper by George Michael… I grew up in the 80’s.
Favorite actor: three-way tie between Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Faye Dunaway.
For favorite movie I’ve got to say it’s impossible because I love so many movies. One of my favorite things is sitting down with my sons and watching a really powerful and quality movie. I’ll say “A Beautiful Mind.”
Favorite cuisine: tie between Italian and Sushi.

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