Ira’s childhood memories include working at his family’s retail childrenswear store on Long Island, which a peddler cousin founded in 1902. Little did he know it would lead to his becoming its 4th generation leader, while maintaining the positions of tailor, buyer, marketer, and bookkeeper. Later, while running the UMass Family Business Center for 25 years, Ira created three plays about family business, which have been performed internationally many times, presented as “living case studies” and “edutainment.” One of these plays was about all he shared with his father/business partner, as they became brothers, in that store.
The Family Business Center, which Ira founded and ran for a quarter century, was a trusted learning environment for family and closely held businesses and expert advisors. Through educational dinner forums, featuring world-class presentations on a wide range of important subjects, as well as workshops, roundtables, print and online newsletters, an advice column, and custom consulting, the center was a resource for hundreds of companies around western Massachusetts. Some of the presenters over the years included George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Goleman, Dan Pink, Dr. Joy Browne and a variety of wise local business owners!
Ira’s lifelong love of good questions landed him the radio host role on WHMP’s Western Mass Business Show, where he interviewed 350 business owners from around the Pioneer Valley over a 7 year span. Ira recently then passed the mic to Tara Brewster, the next generation, who is doing wonderfully.
Ira loves to create, and has developed several fun training exercises that build on elements of group process, strategic questioning, and parallel thinking, to help participants navigate alternate choices to solve their particular business tensions.
Ira loves being around and helping children—including his own two, who are grown, as well as the many third graders from Western Mass who participate in Amherst Cinema’s “See-Hear-Feel-Film” program, which promotes film literacy and collaboration. At the end of the pandemic, he looks forward to resuming that purposeful fun. Fun fact: before retail, Ira ran a hippy K-6 free school in Buffalo!
He also enjoys volunteering with the Holyoke based E-for-All, helping people with business aspirations strategize, and learn things they’ll need along the way.
Ira is proud to be a meditator since 1975, and wonders if he isn’t finally starting to see some signs of inner growth!!
Now a senior advisor with Giombetti Associates, Ira is proud to be a part of what Giombetti brings to the world. Rick and Ross were involved as Strategic Partners of the Family Business Center for almost its entire existence, and Ira has done the Performance Dynamics assessment several times, as well as the 3-day workshop. He loves those tools, to help people raise their awareness and become more in charge of themselves.
Ira has been married to Lenore for a lot of years, and still impressed by the challenge of keeping relationships happy. One thing they do impressively is that Ira is sous chef for Lenore’s daily specials. Also, Ira is great at digging holes for Lenore to plant.
Ross Giombetti was recently overheard saying: “What you’ll come to LOVE about Ira is his funny quips, quick and dry wit, and incredible persistence to never give up. Ira also has a knack for the English language and may very well know every single analogy, metaphor and euphemism known to the human population! And quite a few Yiddish punchlines and curses, for good measure.”