UPCEA Announces Retirement of Chief Membership Officer Kimberly Zaski, New Staff Additions

October 28, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 28, 2022 – UPCEA, the association for leaders in online and professional continuing education, has announced a number of key staff changes. Chief Membership Officer and Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Kimberly Zaski is retiring at the end of the calendar year. She will be replaced by Kathleen Ives, formerly CEO of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC).  UPCEA has hired Melissa Peraino, formerly of Grand Valley State University, as Director of Content Development and Volunteer Leader Management; Mel Edwards, formerly of Purdue University Online, as Director of Membership and Business Development; and Matt Norsworthy, formerly of the Online Learning Consortium, as Director of Member Experience. 


Chief Membership Officer and Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Kimberly Zaski Retiring 

UPCEA’s Chief Membership Officer and Vice President for Corporate Partnerships, Kimberly Zaski, will be retiring in December 2022. Kim has been an integral member of the association’s staff and leadership team since starting at UPCEA in 2014. During her tenure, the association’s number of professional members has grown to more than 13,000, representing nearly 400 institutions. Kim also built strong relationships with UPCEA’s corporate partners, growing from nine partners in 2014 to 32 from across the higher ed space today.

“I know I speak for the entire UPCEA staff when I say how much we’re going to miss having Kim as a part of the team,” said Bob Hansen, CEO of UPCEA. “She is a wonderful friend and colleague, and has done an extraordinary job growing both the association’s membership and corporate engagement during her time on staff, but especially during the pandemic.” 

Prior to joining the UPCEA staff, Kim served for 13 years as director of marketing for Extended Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has experience in all facets of mass media, as an award-winning journalist, a public relations and advertising specialist, and as the chief marketing and communication strategist for the University of Nevada’s nationally recognized continuing education and professional studies programs. As an UPCEA member, Kim served as Chair of the West Region, and for six years on the UPCEA MEMS Conference planning committee. Kim holds both an M.A. and B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno. 

As Kim steps down, Brandan Kaiser will assume new roles as the Vice President of Membership and Corporate Engagement.

In light of Kim’s retirement and the association’s growth, UPCEA is adding a number of new staff members to the association’s national office team. These new hires will provide integral expertise and experience in two departments as UPCEA continues to serve our membership with high-quality products and services.    


Melissa Peraino Hired as Director of Content Development and Volunteer Leader Management

UPCEA has hired Melissa Peraino, formerly Director of Educational Outreach for Grand Valley State University, as Director of Content Development and Volunteer Leader Management. In this role, Melissa will provide wide-ranging support for content development and volunteer leadership management for UPCEA, including but not limited to: supporting the two main volunteer leadership bodies (Regions, Networks) and their deliverables; curating and managing online communities in the association’s member networking platform; driving an overarching content calendar for the organization, and leading the association’s mentoring initiative from pilot to scalable program. Melissa will start at UPCEA on November 1.

“I could not be more pleased to augment UPCEA’s firepower with the talent and experience Melissa brings,” said Amy Heitzman, Deputy CEO & Chief Learning Officer of UPCEA. “Her decades of engagement across the entire spectrum of PCO will go a long way toward deepening member engagement, as well as increase our capacity to provide critical professional development, at scale, for our entire community.”


Mel Edwards Hired as Director of Membership and Business Development

UPCEA has hired Mel Edwards, formerly Interim Manager for the Course Production team at Purdue University Online, as Director of Membership and Business Development. In this role, Mel will develop and execute UPCEA’s data-driven business growth strategy, including member recruitment, engagement, and retention strategies for both institutional and corporate members, as well as consulting and professional development programs. Additionally, Mel will promote UPCEA’s value proposition, grow UPCEA membership, serve new and existing members, and develop strategies for recruitment and retention. Mel will start at UPCEA on December 5. 

“Mel’s extensive background in overseeing strategic initiatives, project management, and programmatic design in addition to her many years of volunteer leadership within the UPCEA community lends itself perfectly to this new position,” said Kathleen Ives, UPCEA’s Senior Vice President for Engagement. “She will prove to be a tremendous asset in improving our practices, advancing our field and providing solutions for our members.”


Matthew Norsworthy Hired as Director of Member Experience

UPCEA has hired Matthew Norsworthy, formerly of the Online Learning Consortium, as Director of Member Experience. In this role, Matthew will assist the membership team, focusing heavily on member services, day-to-day operations, and member reports, in addition to UPCEA conferences, professional development programs and consulting. Matthew will also develop strategies to measure and strengthen member engagement, and oversee membership data, tracking and reporting. Matthew will start at UPCEA on November 1.

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UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues. Learn more at


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