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The Languages
We Speak

There are occasions in business when fluency in another language is vital, and others when

it’s simply convenient.

My former business partner Mary Jo Sherman and I often attended events at the United Nations. I’d always feel a bit envious when she’d chatter away with elegant diplomats in French. It’d knock my socks off too, when one of those diplomats would approach me and ask, "Was she born here or in France?"

"Here," I’d tell him.

"Impressive," he’d reply. "Her accent is perfect," walking away from me to refresh her drink.

I also enjoy lunching with Dick Backus, president of First Bank of the Americas. Dick chats-up the bus boys in fluent Spanish. The bus boys always smile and banter back-and-forth with Dick, sporting big smiles. Upshot: We’re graced with extraordinary service � and our breadbasket is always full!

I’ve been thinking, have I been missing out on something? Should I learn a foreign language? In New York, where so many are multilingual, wouldn’t it be terrific to be able to communicate in a foreign tongue?

I work with Austrians, Russians, Italians, Brits, Brazilians, Israelis and others. And except for the British, they’ve all taken the time to learn English. If I learned the language of one would I offend the others?

The issue’s been weighing on me for some time. But I’ve been busy and haven’t had much time to do anything about it.

"Busy with what," you ask? Projects. Lots and lots of projects.

We’re introducing proprietary technology that facilitates securities trading clearance. It also reports to management possible trader compliance violations as well as margin limit overages, all in real-time.

We’re launching a women’s pant line that isn’t quite bridge, but has definite direction � and the fit is consistent, style-to-style.

We’re also helping to put a push behind a major medical breakthrough: Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic acids, two short-chain fatty acids the body needs to function� but doesn’t produce. Together, EPA and DHA act as anti-inflammatories and immune system amplifiers.

We’re working on growing a commercial medical research laboratory that’s patented a Down Syndrome screen for women in their first trimester of pregnancy by sonographically measuring their fetus’ nuchal translucency and analyzing their blood eicodendisplasty levels. The screen is substantially more accurate than traditional second trimester testing.

Partners & Levit is the agency launching a lightly carbonated oxygenated water imported from Europe. There are other oxygenated waters offered in the US, but none with a patented triple-ply polymer bottle and closure that prevents the oxygen from dissipating.

We’re even helping to manage staffing firm risks by assisting a specialty underwriter to distribute programs that protect those firms against looming employer and professional liabilities.

All the while, to launch, introduce, push, support and implement these marketing initiatives we’re conducting qualitative and quantitative research, concepting, analyzing CPMs, GRPs, impressions and editorial environments to maximize communications and media efficiencies� and to leverage our clients’ marketing investments.

Sound like Greek to you? Each is the language of one of our clients. Plus, people say I’m very fluent in "Marketing".

So, in a sense, I do speak foreign languages. Many, in
fact. Now about learning Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, French or Norwegian � I think I’ll wait until I can understand those Brits.

Tell me about the languages you speak. Call me, Mark Levit, at 212.696.1200. But let�s speak in English. OK?

Mark S. Levit

Advertising agency