Business & Professional

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Readers’ Choice 2016


Accountant/Financial Services

Ira Fateman, who writes the Money Matters column for J., provides full-service financial planning and investment management. He also runs public workshops. As a certified financial planner with an M.Ed. in counseling, he says he has “expertise in managing relationships” as well as money.

In Alameda, Guy Ben Ari, an Israeli-born certified financial planner with Edward Jones, works with clients and their CPAs, attorneys and other professionals to determine the best financial strategy. “My passion is helping my clients achieve their financial goals by listening to their needs … putting service and relationship first.”

Steven De Graff, a CPA based in Burlingame, has been in business since 1968, with clients that include businesses, professionals and individuals. His scope includes accounting and auditing, financial planning, real estate transactions and tax planning and preparation.

Winship Wealth Partners, in Ross and San Francisco, is run by Craig and Melissa Slayen. The firm offers a comprehensive approach to wealth management with multiple services: among them, managing liquid investment portfolios and developing philanthropic giving plans.

San Francisco

Ira Fateman

SAS Financial Advisors

(415) 277-5955

East Bay

Guy Ben Ari

Edward Jones


(510) 522-2009

South Bay/Peninsula

Steven De Graff


(650) 697-6700

North Bay

Winship Wealth Partners


(415) 927-8016



Founding partner Barbara Moser of Kaye-Moser-Hierbaum — which has ranked among the top 100 women-owned Bay Area businesses by San Francisco Business Times — calls her practice “a boutique family law and estate planning firm” that works with “high net-worth individuals.”

Wayne Lampert’s Oakland law firm specializes in business law, estate planning and probate and trust administration, representing clients ages 20 to 90. Honoring budgets, schedules and mobility issues, he will arrange meetings or phone conferences before and after hours, or in residences if necessary.

Steve Rudd is a Cupertino estate planning attorney. One reviewer on Avvo, a lawyer directory, writes: “Steve is a no-nonsense professional who knows his field and can manage complex issues with aplomb. He helped us set up a trust and redo our outdated wills when our children were born.”

In Greenbrae, Len Rifkind’s law group handles real estate and business transactions as well as land use and estate planning, seeking “simple and cost-effective solutions.” He and his staff “understand the importance of ‘the deal’ and are committed to communicative action that gets things done.”

San Francisco

Barbara Moser

(415) 296-8868


East Bay

Wayne Lampert


(510) 922-8780

South Bay/Peninsula

Steve Rudd


(408) 252-5211

North Bay

Len Rifkind


(415) 785-7988


Travel Agent

Repeat winner Sandy Lipkowitz of San Francisco’s 9-year-old We Make Travel Easy, who is a favorite in three regions, says she works with “busy individuals who want fabulous vacations and don’t want to [sort through] mountains of information.” Serving businesses as well as social networks, she has escorted trips to Cuba and planned tours to India and Mexico.

Ladera Travel in Menlo Park, owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Les and Nancy Burger since 1990, is another perennial winner, serving leisure and business travelers. Agents create customized itineraries to meet clients’ specifications, taking into consideration travel style, preferences and best values.

San Francisco & East Bay & North Bay

Sandra Lipkowitz

We Make Travel Easy

(415) 931-1945

South Bay/Peninsula

Ladera Travel

Menlo Park

(650) 854-3222



San Francisco’s 78-year-old Jaffe-Schlossberg , a third-generation family agency and perennial winner, is a “one-stop shop” for all kinds of insurance, working with several insurance companies to customize policies for clients, says president Adam Jaffe. The focus is on “the highest level of personalized insurance.”

In Oakland, State Farm agent Ken Bullock offers a variety of policies, including health, home and property, life and auto. One 20-year client’s Yelp review says Bullock’s “staff excels in personal service, going above and beyond what is expected.”

In Belmont, Jim Dwyer, also a State Farm agent, provides home, auto, life and other insurance policies. He prides himself on “providing professional, courteous and prompt service,” and one satisfied customer says his office “is always going the extra mile.”

Minto & Wilkie, founded in 1917 and a repeat winner in San Rafael, is a full-service, independent agency, offering policies from top companies, including commercial coverage; health, life and long-term care; and personal coverage, including homeowners and rental policies, vehicle, earthquake and flood.

San Francisco


(415) 221-5340

East Bay

Ken Bullock


(510) 658-9616

South Bay/Peninsula

Jim Dwyer


(650) 592-3957

North Bay

Minto & Wilkie

San Rafael

(415) 453-0610


Real Estate

In San Francisco, longtime winner Debbie Herzfeld, a broker, certified residential specialist and seniors real estate specialist, has guided buyers and sellers for 35 years, specializing in single-family homes, condominiums and multifamily units throughout the city’s neighborhoods. “My focus is on personal attention,” she writes. “I limit the number of people I work with at one time so that they get the service they deserve.”

Deborah Lopez, another longtime winner and a Realtor, broker and attorney, has been a San Francisco agent for 38 years, selling condos, luxury homes, apartment buildings and tenants-in-common units. “My business is to bring buyers and sellers together in transactions that work for everyone,” she writes.

Dana Cohen, a perennial East Bay winner, has been a residential Realtor for 15 years, specializing in the Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont areas. A top producer at the Grubb Co., she says she combines “high touch with high tech,” offering personal attention along with web-based marketing.

Longtime winner Susan Sims has been a Silicon Valley real estate agent since 2003 and works out of the Alain Pinel office in Los Altos. Calling herself “a great negotiator,” she also takes pride in knowing not only the market, but also the neighborhoods and schools, a boon to those who are relocating to the region.

Repeat North Bay winner Mara Kahn of the Wine Country Group Realtors in Sonoma is a certified EcoBroker who prides herself on serving sellers by “delivering the highest price in the shortest time possible” while matching buyers “to the right home, in the right location, at the right price.”


San Francisco

Debbie Herzfeld

(415) 338-0118


Deborah Lopez


(415) 738-7084


East Bay

Dana Cohen


(510) 813-0321 •

South Bay/Peninsula

Susan Sims

Los Altos

(650) 743-1838


North Bay

Mara Kahn


(415) 860-3052


Tile/Stone Purveyor

Fox Marble provides stone, marble and granite for kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces and outdoor areas, crafting each piece in its San Francisco facility and installing it in area homes and commercial settings throughout the region. In addition, the company offers comprehensive stone care and restoration services.

Berkeley’s privately owned Import Tile, in business since 1975, displays products in its showroom that customers can take home immediately and also provides design help and contractor referrals. Products include floor and wall tiles, countertops, pavers, and artistic mosaics from throughout the world.

Repeat winner Carmel Stone, with a large Palo Alto showroom, imports and distributes high-end stone, tile and slabs. One of the largest importers of Jerusalem stone nationwide, it also stocks Italian marble, granite, quartzite and onyx, and a variety of product lines.

With showrooms in San Rafael as well as San Francisco, Ceramic Tile Design offers materials for bath, kitchen, wall, fireplace and flooring as well as pool and patio, providing ideas in the showrooms and on the website. The company works with contractors and dealers as well as do-it-yourselfers.

San Francisco

Fox Marble

(415) 671-1149

East Bay

Import Tile


(888) 843-5959

South Bay/Peninsula

Carmel Stone Imports

Palo Alto

(650) 800-7840

North Bay

Ceramic Tile Design

San Rafael

(415) 485-5180


Readers’ Choice 2016