About the Founder

Dr. Lois J. Zachary

Dr. Zachary lived the mentoring ethos. She often said, “Learning is the purpose, process and product of mentoring,” and  was considered the “Mentor’s Mentor”, investing her time and passion for learning in countless mentees across industries and generations.

She was an internationally recognized expert on mentoring and leadership. Her work was mentioned in in The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Inc. magazine, T&D, Leadership Excellence, The Chronicle of Higher Education, or other business and leadership news outlets.

Her first book on mentoring, The Mentor’s Guide, was published in 2000. It quickly became the primary resource for organizations interested in promoting mentoring for leadership development and the go-to resource for mentors seeking to deepen their mentoring practice. Due to continued demand, a second edition of The Mentor’s Guide was published in 2011 and a third edition was released in June 2022 (Lisa Z. Fain co-author).

With her other best-selling books – Creating a Mentoring Culture: The Organization’s Guide (2005), The Mentee’s Guide (2009), Starting Strong (2014, co-authored with Lory Fischler), Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring (2020, co-authored with Lisa Fain), five Mentoring Excellence Pocket Toolkits and more than 100 published articles — Dr. Zachary has created a comprehensive set of tools for promoting mentoring excellence for individuals and organizations. In addition, Zachary published a collection of poetry and reflection entitled My Mother Has the Finest Eyes, A Collection of Poetry and Reflection (2013).

Dr. Zachary is founder of Leadership Development Services, LLC and its Center for Mentoring Excellence. She was succeeded as CEO of Center by Mentoring Excellence by her daughter, Lisa Z. Fain. Dr. Zachary’s innovative mentoring approaches and expertise in coaching leaders and their organizations in designing, implementing, and evaluating learner-centered mentoring programs have been adopted globally by a wide array of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, educational and other institutions – profit and nonprofit.

In 1984, Dr. Zachary received her doctorate in adult and continuing education from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. She held a Master of Arts degree from Columbia and a Master of Science degree in education from Southern Illinois University. She was a board member of Charter 100, an organization that recognizes outstanding women of achievement and has held leadership positions on many community and national boards — including the Mentor National Team of the Chicago Public Schools, and the Advisory Council of Arizona State’s University School of Global Management and Leadership. She served as secretary of Women Investing in Science and Education (WISH), an organization that works in collaboration with Banner Health to promote women’s wellness and family health through education and targeted philanthropic support.