Association Insight
Zia Ahmed
Senior Director, Dining Services at Ohio State University
President of NACUFS 

What are your goals as the President of NACUFS?

Ever since becoming NACUFS President in July 2014, my goal has remained the same which is to continue the work already set in motion by the previous board. That is, refining the governance structure of NACUFS and creating a new set of bylaws accordingly. NACUFS was also at the tail end of our previous strategic plan. Thus, developing a new strategic plan was also a priority which was accomplished by the board during my presidency.

Are there any new benefits or features NACUFS has introduced lately?

NACUFS provides a great deal of valuable educational and networking benefits to our members. We are continuously enhancing the current programs and services based on member feedback. Our main focus over the past year has been to approve a new governance structure based on member feedback and to complete a strategic plan focused on promoting excellence in collegiate dining, enhancing member value and ensuring a financially stable NACUFS. I believe all of this work will provide us a strengthened platform to continue to enhance our programs and services. These changes will also enable us to guide the organization strategically and be nimble. We must be responsive to the constantly changing world our members face day to day on their campuses as they provide excellent culinary experiences to our students.
What is a common challenge within your industry?

It is important that college and university dining remains in the forefront of efficiency and innovation. The cost of a higher education today is a real challenge for our industry. Thus, we continue to find effective and efficient ways to deliver innovative and high quality food to our guests.
What legacy would you like to leave from being NACUFS’s President?

I am the first next generation leader of NACUFS. I would like to believe that the NACUFS board of directors and leadership has taken major strides to become strategic, data-driven and focused on member value during my term. We’ve worked as a team to create a culture of inclusive excellence. I would consider that to be great legacy for me and the entire leadership team in NACUFS. I believe every day is a gift and that is something people should remember about me.
What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

This is a simple question without a simple answer for me. A great meal is defined by the food you eat, the company you keep, whether it be friends or family, and the overall dining experience. All experiences are unique and, therefore, I am very fortunate to have too many of those experiences to mention only one.