Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Dawn Zier
Thomas has equal admiration for Zier.
"What differentiates Dawn is her leadership skills," he says. "She sets bold standards and attracts people who want to achieve something special. Dawn is also incredibly persistent—if one path is blocked, she always seems to find another. It has been both a pleasure and an education working with her."
For Zier, the support is invaluable.
"I'm quite certain that I wouldn't be where I am today without these three people," Zier says. "I would highly advise anyone taking on major responsibility of any kind to make sure they have mentors. It's not about ego. It's about really surrounding yourself with the best people, who can help you take the best steps forward."
Surrounding Herself With Greatness
Zier listens to her team, too.
"When I came into Nutrisystem, the first thing I focused on was building a very strong team," Zier says. "And I work very closely with both my chief marketing officer, Keira Krausz, and my chief financial officer, Mike Monahan, along with the rest of my direct reports."
Zier mentored Stephen Mikulak, whom she originally hired in June 2000, straight out of Le Moyne College with a bachelor's degree in economics. Then a circulation associate at Reader's Digest, Nutrisystem hired Mikulak as VP of customer experience and engagement in July 2014.
"She expects the best out of her team and herself, and that is why she is a great leader," Mikulak says of Zier. "She wants to get better and wants her team and company to succeed. Dawn has the ability to look at marketing campaign results and come up with a hypothesis, conclusions, solutions or answers that no one else saw. [The] sky's the limit for Dawn and her career."
Pay It Forward
Mentors and others were willing to help her, so Zier figures it's her turn to pay it forward.