Girkins Named Zondervan Exec

December 10, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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GRAND RAPIDS — HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide in New York has announced the appointment of Maureen “Moe” Girkins as president and CEO of Zondervan. Beginning Jan. 2, Girkins will direct Zondervan’s growth strategy and manage day-to-day operations, reporting to Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins.

Girkins, who lives in the Chicago area, has held a number of senior executive positions over the past 25 years at companies including Motorola and AT&T/Bell Laboratories. For the past six years she has been an advisor to Investor Growth Capital and served on multiple corporate boards including Media Arts Group, Vallent, Kemet Electronics and Broadcom. In 2000, she served briefly at Dell Inc. as senior vice president, Wireless, Office of the Chairman, according to Forbes.com.

Girkins said she has not had experience in publishing, but she explained that the publishing industry "is becoming more and more digital, versus print, and I do have a lot of experience in digital technology."

Girkins said there is "a lot of change going on as to how to do Christian communication, in general. I think the industry as a whole can use fresh eyes. I have those fresh eyes," she said.

Girkins received a B.S. in electrical engineering, an M.S. in computer science and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, according to Forbes.com.

Under the name Moe Grzelakowski, Girkins wrote a book in 2005 called "Mother Leads Best: 50 Women Who Are Changing the Way Organizations Define Leadership." The book details the positive impact of motherhood on senior executive women.

Before she had children, Girkins said, she was one of AT&T's youngest senior managers. She said one day her team jokingly presented her with the "Ayatollah Khomeini Award," which was "their way of saying, 'you're pushing us a little too hard.'"

She said after she became a mother, her outlook changed, and she realized then that she had been pushing too hard. So she changed her management stle, after which the team jokingly referred to her as “Mother Teresa,” she said.

Becoming a mother was "a major transformation in my leadership style," she said, so much so that motherhood and leadership became the focus of her book.

Girkins has two sons, 23 and 20, and a 15-year-old stepdaughter.

She has completed the first half of the Masters of Divinity program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., although she said she does not plan to become an ordained minister.

She said she will be moving to West Michigan in her new role at Zondervan.

HarperCollins, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corp.

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