In September, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater held an inaugural event for its new Society of Professionals affinity group, promising unique and stimulating programming, and opportunities to connect to other professionals in the area.
At its second event, the Society demonstrated a strong commitment to fulfilling that promise.
On Thursday morning, November 10, the group presented the first in its Conversations series of programs. Titled Local Stories of Success, the event—sponsored by INSCO Insurance—included a panel discussion with David Konikoff of Konikoff Dentistry, Jerry Miller of the Miller Group, and Jody Wagner of Jody’s Popcorn. With Danny Rubin of Rubin Communications moderating, the trio provided insights into their career paths—past and present, and spoke about their involvement with and support of the Jewish community.
More than 50 people of all ages and business affiliations attended, exceeding expectations and validating the effort Shira Itzhak and Julius Miller, volunteer co-chairs, put into planning the program. “Over the years, we recognized that there were very successful Jewish professionals in our community and thought it was a great opportunity to share their success stories,” says Itzhak.
“We want up and coming Jewish professionals and community members to learn from these stories, so we can continue to grow,” she says. “These people [on stage] do not want to flaunt their success, but we want people to know the home grown Jewish professionals, in order to inspire others.”
Feedback from the event has been outstanding, according to UJFT staff members who helped organize the morning breakfast and discussion.
“I enjoyed the topics, and Danny did an excellent job moderating the event,” Neil Waranch writes in an email.
“I think continuing to have guest speakers, young and old, gives everyone fresh and differing perspectives. We have extremely interesting and successful Federation members who have great stories to tell,” he writes. “I’m looking forward to future events.”
Scott Levin also praised the program. “This was an interesting and unique event,” Levin says. “It gave us a chance to learn more about people we know and the forces that drove them on their business ventures.”
The UJFT Society of Professionals emerged from an awareness of shared interests and audiences among the members of the UJFT’s Business & Legal and Maimonides Societies. Along with presenting unique programming and providing networking opportunities to all Jewish professionals in the area, the Society also strives to connect its members to social action initiatives and resources necessary for the Tidewater Jewish community to thrive and grow.
To see more photos from November 10, visit www.facebook.com/ UJFTSocietyofProfessionals/photos and click on the album Conversations: Local Stories of Success. Visit www.JewishVA.org/societyofprofessionals for further information about the Society.
Laine Mednick Rutherford