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Santa Monica College Names New Director of Community Relations

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

March 14, 2014 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Wendy Zahler to serve as the College's interim Director of Community Relations at its meeting last week.

Zahler assumed the post March 5.

“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,” said SMC President and Superintendent Dr. Chui L. Tsang.

According to school officials, Zahler has extensive experience in public relations and event development, production and management for high-profile clients in local, national and international arenas.

“I am delighted to be joining this extraordinary institution of higher learning,” Zahler said in an official statement. “I look forward to working within the exceptional Santa Monica College community of distinguished faculty, committed staff, and diverse student population.

“I am honored to carry the message of the College’s strong commitment to creativity, innovation, and student success throughout the community,” she said.

Prior to her appointment as Community Relations director, Zahler served as director of Business Affairs for six-time New York Times bestselling author Marianne Williamson.

Zahler’s activities ranged from negotiating contracts and speaking engagements to initiating lecture series and weekly online seminars.

Zahler also oversaw the October 2013 event where Williamson announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, and launched her congressional campaign, according to officials.

Williamson is running as an independent to replace stalwart Democrat Henry Waxman, who is retiring this year after 40 years representing Los Angeles’ Westside in congress.

Since 2010, Zahler also served as Director of Engagements and Special Projects for Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder and Spiritual Director of The Agape International Spiritual Center.

Zahler’s duties included identifying, securing, and managing all aspects of Beckwith’s national and international speaking engagements, as well as promoting the center within the community, according to officials.

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, according to officials.

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 earned her Juris Doctorate at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Cleveland State Law Journal.  She is currently a member of the Ohio State Bar, where she is licensed to practice law at a federal level in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

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 Bachelor of Arts from Case Western University.

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