Real estate professionals plus Safta equals a night of non-stop networking

Jan 15, 2024 | Article, Newsletter

Overheard January 11 at the JEWISHcolorado Real Estate & Construction Network (RECN) Signature Event.

“It’s a small world, isn’t it?”

More than 200 members of that small world—Colorado’s Jewish real estate and construction professionals and their allied businesses and colleagues—took over the super-popular restaurant Safta and feasted on an excellent kosher buffet and a night of non-stop networking.

From veterans of RECN (like Kendra Goldstein) to newcomers (like Valerie Seid), everyone found a way to renew old connections and make new ones.

Real Estate & Construction Network Event at Safta 2024Seid grew up in New York and is pursuing a variety of start-up options in her new hometown of Denver. A good friend (who isn’t Jewish) came to the event and invited her to come along.

“This is a great networking event!” Seid said. “I have been meeting a ton of people, and my purse is already filled with their cards.”

Seid also wanted to attend because she is “JEWISHcolorado curious.”

“My dad is in Israel, and on October 7, I felt really lonely,” she said. “I am looking for a way to connect with community.”

In contrast to Seid, Kendra Goldstein—a member of the JEWISHcolorado Board and the RECN Council—seemed to know everyone. But even she found a surprise connection at the event.

“In my business, I talk to my clients on the phone, but I often don’t meet them face-to-face,” she said. “So tonight, I was introduced to one of my clients, and for the first time, I met him!”

Non-stop networking

The smash success of last year’s evening at Safta brought even more attendees to this year’s Signature Event. RECN brings together leaders in the field of real estate for networking, education, travel to visit other cities, and the exchange of best practices. Participants in RECN events are asked to make a philanthropic gift to support the work of JEWISHcolorado locally and in communities around the world.

Ultimately, what makes RECN so effective are the personal connections—the introductions, the handshakes, the pats on the back, and the hugs.

Ron Suber and Steven Amiel sat at one table enjoying Safta’s feast of roasted avocado, tahini hummus, lamb chops, pistachio-crusted salmon, falafel, and, of course, the famous Safta pita bread. They were there for one old friend and the possibility of meeting new ones.

“I love Stuart Zall,” Amiel said. “This organization is important to him, so it is important to me. Tonight, I may meet someone—whether they are a contractor, broker, investor, attorney, or banker—and it may open doors.”

Meanwhile, Stuart Zall was working the room. He became involved in RECN because he believes real estate is an important sector of the local economy.

“Coming out of COVID, this is a great way to network,” Zall said. “For some people, this may be the only Jewish event they do and it’s a chance to make new and renew old connections.”

Real Estate & Construction Network Presents an Evening at Safta 2024

Melissa Powers and Rachel Grafman leaned on the Safta food bar and got to know each other.

“I went to RECN’s last networking event, so I was looking forward to this one,” Powers said.

“Being a woman in engineering and construction, it can be challenging to meet other women,” added Grafman. “To connect with so many Jewish people here is really powerful for me.”

Matt Geiger reports on commercial real estate and development for BusinessDen. He was at Safta to find news stories about what’s happening in the community. Across the table, Dan Nesson, Owner of True North Real Estate, had an idea for him—Camp Pickle, a giant pickleball center with a bar and restaurant opening in Centennial.

Brian Botnick was busy reporting his own news, showing off photos of his son Samson who turned three months old that day. Samson represents the next generation of a family that has been in real estate and development for a century. That’s just one reason that Botnick has joined the RECN council.

“People at this event relate through business and real estate and also feel connected to JEWISHcolorado,” he says. “Going to a JEWISHcolorado event where you don’t know anyone may be challenging. Come to an event like this, and you will find community, facilitated by JEWISHcolorado.”

RECN Event at Safta 2024

Jason Pomerantz is also on the RECN Council. He circulated throughout Safta, touching base with current clients and meeting new ones. “You really have to be in the room to feel the energy—the palpable energy of this organization,” he said. “I met a young man this week, and he is here tonight. I introduced him to two different people, and he already has a fistful of business cards, so he is blossoming on his own, riding this energy.”

As he leaves for the night, veteran real estate broker Neal Paul shakes his head. He can remember discussions of starting a real estate group within the Federation that go back decades. Now, he looks around and sees the concept turned into a reality.

“There are so many challenges to Judaism and Israel and so much negative talk right now,” Paul said. “But here, in this room, I see hope and a positive future.”