For Heather A. Zwiker, what has always mattered in choosing a career is the ability to help as many people as possible. In this case, she serves every young person enrolled in the Chester County School District, where she is the child nutrition director. Holding a Master of Business Administration from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science in physical education and health from the College of Charleston, while she was earning her degrees, she initially planned to work in health promotion after graduating, yet she ultimately discovered her current, more rewarding, profession. In addition to being named to Marquis Who’s of Professional Women, Ms. Zwiker’s journey is being featured in a cover story for Marquis Magazine.
A respected expert in school nutrition, efficiency, nutrition analysis, and troubleshooting, Ms. Zwiker and the Chester County School District work with the school system’s student nutrition services department, which ensures that all students have access to full breakfast and lunch meals. Overseeing the vital work of about 50 school system employees, she is responsible for maintaining and ensuring an accurate budget, supervising all department managers and staff, and performing regular menu and nutrition analyses.
An ambitious executive who has been a director within two school districts, Ms. Zwiker’s accomplishments are many. She is most proud, however, of her ability to consistently fix problems that can arise in any profession, particularly at district or department levels. Recalling that the first district was in dire straits financially and in other ways, when Ms. Zwiker was brought in as the external auditor she shut down operations because their kitchens fell far below standard. An internal job soon opened in the district, and she was invited to apply, was hired, and corrected all processes. The program was losing $50,000 a year, she said, and within three years, her leadership resulted in the system making $2 million annually.
Ms. Zwiker attributes her success to her continuous persistence. For a stretch of her career, she desired to advance to positions of greater responsibility and rank but felt she hit a ceiling with no way to move up. She later consulted with a trusted friend and lawyer who encouraged her to move to an organization that allowed her room to grow into larger roles. Ms. Zwiker heeded the helpful advice, thanked her friend for recognizing that she is highly goal-oriented, and promptly rebooted her career by accepting more rewarding roles. Additionally, she credits her service in the United States Air Force for helping her to build her confidence and character, identify and improve her weaknesses, and lay the foundations for the skills she would later need to become a fair supervisor who can be strict whenever it’s necessary. These are characteristics that she cares about maintaining for the benefit of everyone on her team, a cooperative and collaborative work environment, and productivity. Ms. Zwiker’s ongoing aim for years to come is to assist other professionals in ways similar to the help she has received throughout her career.
Preparing her in a variety of ways for her existing role, prior to joining the Chester County School District in 2022, Ms. Zwiker was a child nutrition director in the Bamberg County School District, an education associate for the South Carolina Department of Education, a clinical supervisor and environmental health manager for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, a circulation supervisor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and an accounting technician and services specialist in the United States Air Force in addition to being enlisted in the Air Force Reserve, the United States Air Force, and the National Guard. She has a daughter and a grandson and enjoys reading and playing video games.