The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees has appointed Wendy Zahler to serve in an interim capacity as the College’s Director of Community Relations. Zahler was appointed to the position by the Board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 4.
Zahler stepped into her new post at SMC on March 5.
SMC President and Superintendent Dr. Chui L. Tsang said it was a great pleasure to welcome Zahler to the Santa Monica College community.
“SMC will benefit immensely from her experience in developing frameworks to support educational and motivational ventures, and from her skills in communicating and facilitating agreements across many perspectives,” Dr. Tsang said.
Zahler, an attorney and a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, brings to SMC extensive experience in public relations and event development, production, and management for high-profile clients in local, national, and international arenas.
Zahler said she was delighted to join this “extraordinary institution of higher learning.”
“I am honored to carry the message of the College’s strong commitment to creativity, innovation, and student success throughout the community,” Zahler said.
Zahler has been Director of Business Affairs since 2004 for Marianne Williamson, the internationally recognized, six-time New York Times bestselling author.
Zahler’s activities ranged from negotiating contracts and speaking engagements to initiating lecture series and weekly online seminars.
Zahler also orchestrated the October 2013 event for Williamson that served to announce her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, and launched her congressional campaign.
Since 2010, Zahler has also been Director of Engagements and Director of Special Projects for renowned inspirational speaker Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder and Spiritual Director of The Agape International Spiritual Center.
Zahler’s efforts included identifying, securing, and managing all aspects of Beckwith’s national and international speaking engagements, as well as promoting the center within the larger spiritual and lay communities.
From 2002 to 2006, Zahler provided business and legal consulting to MyTop International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing MyTop Group, a Beijing-based high-tech conglomerate maintaining core businesses that included computer software and hardware, telecommunication and network products, digital precision machinery, and network systems integration.
Zahler’s prior positions include working as Vice President and General Counsel to TopGroup Consulting and Business Services, Inc. – in Cleveland, Ohio, and Houston, Texas – where she redefined corporate objectives, implemented business solutions such as the Passport America Program to assist Chinese businesses with their entry into the U.S. market, and designed and implemented corporate strategies to represent U.S. companies in achieving business objectives in China.
Zahler also has many years of experience in conducting significant fundraising and development projects for nonprofit organizations, and in providing executive-level searches and general business consulting to for-profit enterprises. She is also the former Vice President of Legal Affairs for QualChoice Health Plan, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of University Hospitals Health System, Cleveland, Ohio.
Prior to her move to California, Zahler served on the Board of Trustees of The Open House – a nonprofit organization established in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, to support persons with HIV/AIDS and their families, friends, and caregivers – where she also co-chaired the launch and annual production of the organization’s premier fundraising event, which raised more than 40 percent of the annual operating budget.
Zahler also produced events to raise funds for the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization dedicated to ensuring equal rights for all Americans, and has served as a United Way Loaned Executive.
Zahler is a Member of the State Bar of Ohio. She was admitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Zahler earned her JD at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Cleveland State Law Journal.
She also completed graduate business coursework at College of San Francisco, honed her skills in Mandarin at the Taipei Language Institute in the Republic of China, and received a BA from Case Western University.