Carolyn Zazzarino: Accountant, Coach, Rock Star
When Carolyn Zazzarino left Price Waterhouse Coopers Accounting Firm over 20 years ago to start her own accounting practice, she had no idea what was in store for her. While self-employed and raising children, she began getting involved in the community-first as a softball coach and then as a Board member for East Fishkill Girls Softball. She grew to love being an active community member and volunteer and began looking into working for a nonprofit. This journey ultimately took her to United Way where she now serves as the Vice President of Finance & Administration.
Carolyn knew she wanted to work in finance right after she took her first college accounting course and abruptly switched majors. She then went on to become a Certified Public Accountant and enjoys the organizational and research-oriented aspects most.
During her tenure as the head of her own company she had the chance to be close to home and watch her children grow up. Now they are in their early twenties pursuing advanced degrees. She is immensely proud of them and of her husband, an engineer, and her high school sweetheart, whom she married over 25 years ago.
Carolyn had the opportunity to bond with her daughters as their elementary school softball coach. They were able to travel to away games together and spend a lot of precious time with one another. In fact, her bumper sticker reads “The only thing better than a dad that knows baseball is a mom that knows baseball.”
As music has been a major part of her life, she is very fond of the fact that she was able to inspire her son’s love of music as his first guitar teacher.
It was through coaching that Carolyn began to make an impact in her community and continues to do so at United Way.
“I wanted to lend my expertise to something fulfilling, I felt especially drawn to United Way because of its local focus; I knew the organization was helping my neighbors. I was excited so about the opportunity to be a part of the work!” Three years later, Carolyn is proud of her work here at United Way. Her favorite thing about working at United Way? The people, of course!
“We all have a sense of how important the work is; we are all part of one great team.”
Aside from being a dedicated United Way employee and mother, she is also a rock star and rehearses with her band weekly as lead singer, mostly performing rock and country covers.
Her favorite band of all time is Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. She went to see Springsteen as a teen. It was her first concert and she was hooked!
Once when Carolyn was new to United Way and was working late she received a call from a woman asking where she could go for Christmas Dinner. “It really gave me perspective and made me feel good about the impact of our work. It was a humbling experience.”
Carolyn owes her compassionate spirit to her mother who was a “real nurturer” and spent her time helping others. Now Carolyn tries to instill these altruistic values, which she utilizes everyday at United Way, in her children.
And what will she do after United Way?
When Carolyn retires she will return to coaching in her community and explore other ways to volunteer. “I will continue to give back!”
-Interview by Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization