My Devora, or Dvora as we all call her, is not a biblical time icon, but a real hero.
Winter of 2002, Sinaia, Romania. SOS management is out on a ‘’team building” weekend at the Romanian scenic mountain region. Dvora is recovering from the loss of her husband and struggling to overcome the illness she has been carrying for a long time. Shay, her son, is accompanying her in all her visits to Romania. We all went to the local restaurant. After having dinner, the “house-band” started to play local music. The lady in the band sang. Some of the guests in the restaurant stood up and started to dance. Some from our own team joined. Marius Ionescu asks Dvora to dance and she joins. Now, Dvora is dancing a Romanian dance to the sounds of the traditional music of a local Mountain region band.
I was very pleased to see that she was able to be happy again. When Haim, Dvora’s late husband died, Dvora became my business- partner. She had inherited the stock of shares from Haim. I was very worried. What would it be like to be in business with the wife of my late partner? Dvora was working as a scientist in the Weizman Institute.
The Weizman Institute is an international name in Science. And Dvora is an internationally known scientist. Dvora was a part of the team that developed the ‘’Coapxone” the first FDA approved medication for Multiple Sclerosis. Dvora won national and international awards for her part in the research and development team which holds the rights for the invention of the Coapxone.
I was looking at Dvora dancing with our Romanian local managers. She was in good shape and looked very well. Her cheeks were rosy and I thought that she looked very pretty. Dvora started to position herself as a partner in the leadership of SOS. Soon, nothing would be done without at least some of her involvement. In the coming years, Dvora becomes more and more involved in SOS and MediHelp and I am learning to get along with her. Her health is often a worrying subject.
Dvora is insisting to be involved. Often she comes to Romania with Shay. In her visits, she is trying to condense all possible activities into 2-3 long days. She is trying to meet as many of the local managers and staff as possible, interested to know any detail in the life and work in SOS. Dvora is interested in the local and professional life, culture and everyone’s problems. As she is conducting the conversations with the staff, cultural and mentality differences are brought up. Dvora would listen and investigate any possible venue that will bring her to know better. To know better the people, their ways of life, ways of thinking. To know how they see life from their point of view.
Her health was a growing worry. When the day is over, she wants some time out. So, we spend the evenings in exploring the restaurants and night life of Bucharest. We went to operas and had wonderful time out with friends and employees. On my visits to Israel, Dvora would always insist to meet with me. For the meetings, her yellow paper-pad is made ready with notes. She has her list of issues with me made before I came. And then she would thoroughly go subject by subject analyzing each and every component and details of the business. Dvora has never been a “declared business-lady”. When we started to work together, I was sure that our different backgrounds would create difficulties of communication. That was never the case. Dvora and I worked together in a successful manner. There was a very fast learning curve. Dvora learnt about Romania and SOS business and I learnt who Dvora really is.
Meetings were a combination of detailed analysis of figures and issues. Dvora wanted to hear of any new opportunity, and never wanted to be left “out of the game”. Meetings became thorough and productive, but there was always room for jokes and laughter.
Dvora is a better Business Lady than many of us. She is also a clever and kind person. Over the years, I had many conversations with her. Work around SOS issues and the visits to Romania brought us to spend a lot of time together. Spending time in meetings, journeys, on flights, we had the chance to talk about work, people, life, children, hopes and disappointments. I was always admiring her approach to people. There was always an attempt to understand the other side. Dvora never wasted time in criticism and personal attacks. When someone’s poor performance or mistakes were the issue, I felt that there was a tendency to forgive the mistakes and grant a wide space for improvement.
In the years we worked together, not everything went well. Romania was not always kind to us, and some of our past managers have left us with unfulfilled promises. Some times, out of the natural course of life, I added too my share in some business mistakes which I can claim full responsibility for. But I never heard a complaint. I have never heard from Dvora the words: ‘I told you so’.
Dvora was always an adventurous partner for investments in Real Estate, where people would not even dream to go to, or for acquisitions of new technologies for SOS.