Dennis Zehner has been our Executive Director and CEO since July 1, 2020. He served as our Director of Advancement from 2018-2020 and held the additional title of Associate Director from 2019-2020. Dennis has led creation of our 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, strengthened our Board of Directors, increased revenue in several categories, recreated our event portfolio, and fostered important new partnerships.
Dennis brings to his work 20 years of experience in the Lehigh Valley region’s nonprofit industry and an emotional connection with the agency’s mission because of obstacles encountered by his late paternal grandfather, who was legally blind throughout his life.
In his prior work with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, the Literacy Center of the Lehigh Valley, and the Da Vinci Science Center, Dennis specialized in communications, creative promotions, news media relations, marketing, multi-platform content production, and fundraising as he advanced into roles of greater responsibility. During this tenure with the Da Vinci Science Center, he formed the organization’s public persona, co-created and produced its flagship Ice Cream Wars event, and helped the agency increase its public visitation and program participation by 73% over a five-year period.
Dennis also has led or contributed critically to additional mission-minded marketing, fundraising, and promotional efforts through his private company, EmpowerStar Enterprises. The most prominent of these projects is the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? series of student video contests in Pennsylvania, for which he has been managed its online voting since 2014.
Dennis has a graduate certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University and a degree in Journalism from Lehigh University. He also is accredited nationally as a Professional Certified Marketer by the American Marketing Association.