A Conversation With Claudia Zacharias

In this issue, O&P News poses five questions to Claudia Zacharias, MBA, CAE, president and CEO of the Board of Certification/ Accreditation.

Zacharias earned a bachelor’s degree from Hood College and a Master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Mt. St. Mary’s University. She went on to achieve the American Society of Association Executives’ highest designation, Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Zacharias has more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience. Her background includes executive positions at the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the world’s largest and most prestigious credentialing organization for the field of nursing; and Leadership Maryland, a highly respected program for accomplished leaders from diverse fields. She also served for 6 years as director of membership and communications with the U.S. Naval Institute.

Zacharias has served on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) for the last 3 years, and recently was elected to a second 3-year term. She has served as the ICE board’s secretary-treasurer for the past 2 years. Later this month at the ICE Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore., the current ICE board chair will pass the gavel to Zacharias, the group’s newly elected chair.

Claudia Zacharias, MBA, CAE

Zacharias was a recipient of a Brava! Award from Baltimore’s SmartCEO magazine and has been honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics (NAAOP) for her contributions to the O&P profession. She was selected as one of 16 “up-and-coming” association board members for the SmithBucklin Executive Leadership program’s inaugural class.

Zacharias began her position at the Board of Certification/Accrediation (BOC) in 2009, where she leads the implementation of the board of directors’ vision and strategy and has dedicated herself to BOC’s continued growth and prosperity. She especially enjoys opportunities to learn from certificants and others in the field.

O&P News: What are your hobbies outside of work?

Zacharias: In my career, new initiatives generally take a great deal of time to implement. My favorite hobby, cooking, gives me the ability to conceptualize and complete a new dish within a few hours. This really “feeds” me because I am someone who likes to get things done!

O&P News: Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

Zacharias: My husband of 30 years, Eric, is my biggest fan. It has been a huge blessing to have a spouse who has encouraged me and supported me all along my career journey. Eric also is very funny, and his ability to find humor in challenging situations is a big part of what keeps me going.

O&P News: What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Zacharias: Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a compassionate person. After completing my MBA, I was hired as a buyer for a well-known department store chain. I soon realized that I would not find satisfaction in a field where the bottom line was the principal focus. The nonprofit world’s emphasis on both mission and margin called to me, and I never looked back.

O&P News: What advice would you offer to O&P students today?

Zacharias: I benefitted greatly from mentoring, even before I knew of that term. If you are just starting out or are even a few years into your career, I encourage you to find a mentor. To get started, simply identify someone you admire and ask if he or she would be willing to serve in this role.

O&P News: What do you enjoy doing to relax?

Zacharias: Whoever coined the term “staycation” must have been thinking of me. My professional life can be very hectic, so the opportunity to unwind at home is a real treat.

Disclosure: Zacharias reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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