Business & Legal Society makes waves with lunchtime event at ZIM

by | Oct 31, 2014 | Other News

Lea Bogatch-Genossar, ZIM USA president left, meets guests Samantha Golden, Greg Zittrain, Ralph Soussan and Todd Waldman.

Lea Bogatch-Genossar, ZIM USA president left, meets guests Samantha Golden, Greg Zittrain, Ralph Soussan and Todd Waldman.

by Laine Mednick Rutherford

A shipping container has a finite amount of space in which to fit cargo.

So, too, does the boardroom at the ZIM USA office building in Norfolk—in relation to how many people it can seat for lunch.

Fortunate, then, were the 32 members and guests of the Business & Legal Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, who accepted an invitation to attend a special lunchtime discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 8 with the president of the North American and Caribbean branch of the Israeli company, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services.

President Lea Bogatch-Genossar was an honest, witty and educational host. The first woman in ZIM’s history to hold this top executive position, Bogatch-Genossar spoke to her guests about some of the realities of running an international shipping line, the current state of the maritime/shipping industry, commerce, politics, and the recent, troubling, anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian ‘Block the Boat’ campaign.

Despite being part of an industry that can be extremely challenging, Bogatch-Genossar says it’s the only work she can imagine. In fact, she has been with ZIM since 1992 in a variety of positions.

The special event was supposed to include a tour of the ZIM headquarters, but when given a choice between hearing more from their host, or seeing offices and cubicles, the guests overwhelmingly chose to continue the discussion.

After more than two hours, Bogatch-Genossar said goodbye to her new friends in the community.

“I think it’s very heartwarming to see that everyone here took time off from their work—they’re busy people. It’s very impressive that they do this as a Jewish group, and we were so glad to be able to do this today, I hope to see everyone again.”

For their part, attendees said they thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, and the unique opportunity to learn more about the shipping industry and ZIM from its president.

The Business & Legal Society offers networking, social and philanthropic opportunities for Jewish professionals. To get involved, or to attend the next Business & Legal Society event—a special evening with Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 pm at the Sandler Family Campus, visit