Leadership Spotlight: Zach Anderson
This month our choice for Leadership Spotlight is our Operations Director, Zach Anderson. As the oldest of ten (six of which were adopted from foster care), Zach has been entrenched in the field in one way or another, for most of his life. After graduating from high school, he decided to move away from California and spent the next ten years traveling around the country.
Thanks to an education in Biology, Zach began working at a chemical plant. In 2008 when tech advances led to the plant laying off workers and replacing them with robots, he decided to move back to California. It being the height of the economic slowdown, he struggled to find work, but ultimately took a job at a Level 12 group home in Paradise.
Read on to discover his advice to those interested in working in the industry, how he spends his free time, and more!
What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA Family Services?
Living in a home environment like I did allowed me to see the ins-and-outs of foster care. I saw firsthand how hard it was for children to be removed from their home and placed with strangers, their struggles and successes, and what my parents went through.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working in the industry?
It would be fantastic for anybody interested in Social Services to work in a residential treatment home/facility at some point. It's an eye-opening experience to live and work with groups of young people in that setting. So much positive, but a lot of trying moments as well. If you pay attention you learn a lot about young people, and a lot about yourself. For me, that was a time in my life I'll never forget, and I'm very thankful for it.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
I have three small children (ages six, four, and 21 months), so a big chunk of my time is dedicated to them, and that's just fine by me. If I happen to get some spare minutes, I enjoy reading and working outside. I live on a piece of land that needs a lot of work, so that takes a good portion of time too. If and when I get a vote on family vacations, 99% of the time I'll pick the ocean as our destination. I've always been drawn to the coast.
What's something about you that would surprise most people?
Most folks probably wouldn't know that I left California right out of high school and went on a 10 year adventure through the midwest. I mostly bounced back and forth between Kentucky and Indiana.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just that I'm very grateful to EA for giving me the opportunity to do this work with this group of people. What we do is hard sometimes, and often goes unnoticed. But we're making a difference in the lives of children and families, and our communities are better because of it.