Why I Serve: An Interview With CA Board Chairwoman Shari Zaret

Shari Zaret, who represents Kings Contrivance on the Columbia Association (CA) Board of Directors, was elected this May to serve as the board’s new chairwoman. A Columbia resident for 25 years, Zaret, 61, is a writer and an organizational development consultant who served on her village board for three years before joining the CA board about three years ago.

What motivates you to serve, both for Columbia Association and as a whole?

“I think it’s a question of giving back to the community. I had always been active in communities wherever I lived, but I think Columbia was very special in the sense that there was so much here — there was so much here for the family, so much here in terms of how the community was a community of activists. I think I tapped into that as one of the values that sort of matched my own values.”

What led to your move from the village board to the CA board of directors?

“I think there were some really important questions coming up before the board. Columbia now is sort of reaching that middle-age point and our CA representative would often bring the issues and questions to our village board. I saw that there were larger issues coming up that were going to affect all of the villages.”

What issues are important to you right now, and also important to Columbia?

“Certainly the question about what we do with the aging infrastructure. I have some background in strategic planning in working with organizations. I felt that I’d be able to contribute something along those lines in terms of long-range planning and in terms of having a comprehensive view of what needed to be done. I think it’s really important to maintain the array of amenities that we have. CA offers something really across the generations, and I think that has made for an extraordinary way of life.”

How and why should other Columbia residents get involved?

“First of all, we have enormous talent in this community. I’ve just been so impressed with the breadth of expertise that people have here. To be able to maximize that, to be able to use that in the community would just be fantastic. The way our villages are designed, they’re designed for input. That’s one of the things the board has been moving toward, to find multiple ways of communicating with people and hearing from people about what their concerns are.”

— Written by David Greisman


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