marketing having put himself through Columbia Business School as the Head Page at NBC for the Johnny Carson show. Navigating celebrities and placating personalities was a job he had learned to do well.
Grey was his first stop in corporate America. Moving on to the client side he became account executive in charge of new product development at H.J. Heinz Co. and then as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. This work experience contributed to his broad business education and taught him a host of valuable skills. He learned the importance of research and analysis, but most of all he learned about the rigidity of corporate America in the ‘60’s. He learned that corporate America did not mesh well with his need for entrepreneurial expression. He relates his “that’s it” moment came when after doing due diligence, he proposed that Heinz enter the bottled water business in 1969. His idea was dismissed and met with the comment, “Why would anyone buy water when they can get it from the tap? Crazy idea!”
t was the height of the Mad Men era when Asher Bernstein found himself working at Grey Advertising in 1966. He received his MBA in
Frustrated, the timing was perfect for an offer made in 1971 to join the family business, Bernstein Real Estate, a company that was started by his grandfather decades before and was one of the oldest real estate families in New York City. As much his DNA as his name, the decision was a no brainer.
He joined the firm with no title and no knowledge of the inner workings of the real estate business. Real estate information was not readily published or available as was research and sales data in the corporate world. You had to seek out the information yourself.
To that end, Asher joined the Real Estate Board of New York and the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association, where he met other contemporaries, owners, agents, brokers and bankers. By 1980 he was elected Chairman of the YM/WREA, the second largest real estate organization in New York City and went on to become the recipient of the “Young Man of the Year” award and later, the “Senior Man of the Year” award.
It is his nonconformist style that sets the Bernstein tone.
It is his non-conformist style that sets the Bernstein tone. He has assembled a core group of professionals who like what they do and do it well. Thinking outside the box is encouraged. Only one simple rule applies: come work for me but leave your ego at the door.
The firm’s current project is a 24 story energy efficient “Passive House”, the first such high rise to be built in Manhattan. In his words, “It’s the opportunity of taking something new and challenging to completion that I have always liked best.”
Asher resides in the West Village, close to his children and grandchildren. His hobbies include singing with the University Glee Club and playing golf and tennis.