Kathe Turiel, Israel Bonds’ registered representative for Central and Southern Ohio and Kentucky, will retire at the end of October after 14 years of building relationships while supporting the state of Israel.
For Turiel, a Bexley resident and member of Congregation Torat Emet in Bexley, the keys to success include a passion for Israel and a dedication to building relationships.
“My family were some of the last to get out of Nazi Germany,” she told the Columbus Jewish News. “So, I grew up with the love and support for the state of Israel.” She would visit family who lived in the country almost every year before COVID-19, she added.
Israel Bonds’ corporate name is Development Corporation for Israel and the company is the United States underwriter of debt securities issued by the State of Israel and the sole seller of Israel bonds in the U.S., said Thomas A. Lockshin, the executive director for Israel Bonds’ Ohio and Kentucky region.
“Over her tenure as an Israel Bonds registered representative, Kathe consistently helped meet the national goals established by Israel Bonds,” Lockshin told the Columbus Jewish News. “Through hard work and dedication, her efforts have maintained Central and Southern Ohio and Kentucky as important communities in the Israel Bonds campaign. ... Whether it’s $36 or $1 million, Kathe’s clients are made to feel that every investment is important to helping Israel’s economy and for advocacy for the state of Israel.”
According to Lockshin, Turiel’s job is multifaceted. She needs to “evaluate each client’s needs and give appropriate advice” regarding Israel bonds, he said. She also needs to put the customer first, and maintain privacy and confidentiality, while treating every customer with the same respect, regardless of how much they invest.
In her role, Turiel reports to Lockshin and works alongside a number of volunteers, including Jay Schottenstein, chairman of the Israel Bonds Central Ohio Advisory Council and his representative, Michael Broidy, vice president of Schottenstein Stores Corp., Lockshin said.
“Kathe has been successful in all these ventures,” Lockshin said. “It may be difficult to replace her with all her years of experience and relationships.”
He also noted that there have been more than $46 billion sold in Israel bonds since they were first issued in 1951.
“Proceeds from the sale of Israel bonds have played a decisive role in Israel’s rapid evolution into a groundbreaking, global leader in high-tech, greentech and biotech,” Lockshin said.
EXPANDING ‘PERSONAL HORIZON’
Turiel said one facet of her job she particularly enjoys is connecting with people and hearing their stories.
“I absolutely love relationship building,” she said, adding that she enjoys getting to know her clients. “I’ve been fortunate to meet people in all aspects of the Jewish world and non-Jewish world, and I really enjoy all parts of it. You know, whether it’s the congregational rabbi in Kentucky or Temple Israel in Columbus, Ohio or out in Israel, or in Cincinnati.
“All the congregations and staff, people, really from all walks of Judaism, have opened their doors to me and they’ve been kind to me.”
She added that her work has been “an opportunity to expand your own personal horizon. And realize that we’re all the same.”
Turiel said that an important part of the relationships she has developed over the years is her commitment to “customer service to the Nth degree,” including being available whenever a client needs her.
“I’ll take a call until 11 o’clock at night. ... If someone needs to reach me and it’s late at night, I’ll take that call,” she said.
Turiel said this commitment to her clients has led to her doing business even while visiting family in Israel. Such dedication is also why she said that her greatest strength is her tenacity.
“It’s so important to deliver customer service so that it’s easy for clients to come back and reinvest” in Israel, she said.
And this approach has served her well, as Turiel said she has increased local Israel bond sales by nearly 100% since she started in 2008. But she was quick to add that this is by no means something she accomplished on her own, instead crediting the groups of people who have helped her in her work. She specifically mentioned Broidy and Jackie Jacobs, executive director emeritus of the Columbus Jewish Foundation and consultant at JewishColumbus, as people who were always available to provide assistance and who always took her calls.
Turiel also lauded the broader support she has gotten from volunteers, synagogue staff and others through the years.
“It’s really about the community stepping up and we just give them the outlet,” she said.
As she winds down her work with Israel Bonds, Turiel said she sees challenges ahead, including COVID-19, a younger generation less accustomed to supporting Israel through bonds, and an insufficient pipeline of volunteers to take over leadership as her generation retires.
Before the pandemic, Turiel said she would visit clients in person, including visiting Kentucky once or twice a year, going to Cincinnati once a month and having daily meetings in Columbus with clients, along with hosting events. The pandemic has changed that as Turiel must build and maintain relationships remotely now.
Even beyond the lack of face-to-face meetings, an even bigger challenge is getting younger investors to support Israel through bonds, she said.
“Of course, the greatest challenge is engagement. I would say, as we see young people moving away from supporting Israel to begin with, then educating them about ... Israel bonds,” she said.
PRAISE FOR HER WORK
Lockshin applauded Turiel’s work, calling her a “diligent and thorough professional who effectively communicates the mission of Israel Bonds in support of Israel” and “an important community resource.”
Lockshin added that the respect he feels for Turiel is shared by others in the organization.
“She is respected by her colleagues for her diligence in sales and customer service to do what’s best for every purchaser and investor,” he said.
Looking ahead, Turiel said she would like to stay busy in retirement, perhaps looking for part-time opportunities.
“My options are open. ... I’d like to be able to work a little, but still have a lot more flexibility in my life,” she said
Israel Bonds was established in 1951 to underwrite securities issued by Israel’s Ministry of Finance. It ranks among Israel’s most valued economic and strategic resources, according to israelbonds.com.
Publisher’s note: Michael Broidy and Jackie Jacobs are members of the Columbus Jewish Publication Company Board of Directors.