Q&A with RZIM CEO Sarah Zacharias Davis
For International Women’s Day, we asked RZIM CEO Sarah Zacharias Davis a few questions about being a CEO, her role models, and more.
Sarah Zacharias Davis is the CEO of RZIM. She is a published author and has been a guest on numerous radio programs, both local and national. The oldest daughter of Ravi and Margie Zacharias, Sarah grew up traveling the world and continues to do that as she oversees the global work of RZIM.
Who were your role models growing up?
Sandra Day O’Connor, because she was the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, and Wonder Woman. I actually wrote both of them a letter telling them why they were my role models, and received a letter back from Wonder Woman. But there were also other women who made an imprint on me. Sandy Browning was a friend of my mother’s. I thought she was gracious and beautiful and generous of spirit. The first time I realized you could be female and also be a preacher was when my parents took me to hear Becky Pippert. I was about 6 years old and have not forgotten that.
What were your dreams for your future?
From the time I can first remember, I wanted a family. I wanted to give love and be loved. That felt the most important. When I got to college something awakened in me and I also felt more driven to a career and to grow and achieve, and that became part of my dream. I still think living from love is the most important. It just looks different to how I imagined as a child. Even though my life has not turned out as I thought it would, I can see now how God planted that seed–that purpose–to love, and how He has brought that purpose into who I am and who I feel He has called me to be.
What are some of the most difficult, but life-shaping lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Surrender. I was always terrified of full surrender, of relinquishing control of my life and my dreams. Coming to that place of surrender was very difficult and yet, I feel God lovingly brought me to a place where I truly desired to surrender everything to Him. I was in Shanghai with Ravi and the last night, the last event, during the Q&A, someone stood up and said that he was a Christian but he didn’t feel like he genuinely loved God. Ravi answered the question by telling a story that was in one of his books written for children, The Broken Promise. He applied the story by asking the questioner, “Perhaps you don’t feel you love God because you are holding something back from Him.” It was at that moment I knew I was withholding surrender but I was still afraid. But in that moment, I did fully surrender and simply asked God to be with me when disappointing or painful things happened, and I truly feel He has been and continues to be.
I have also learned grace through making mistakes, grace for myself, but also grace towards others. Though difficult, through this I learned God’s love for me and that not I nor anyone else is too far from the love and grace of God.
What is your favorite thing about being a CEO?
I am excited by seeing a vision for what can be, in people as individuals and in the organization. I feel fulfilled when I can recognize gifting or potential in someone else and then can clear the barriers so they can do and be who they are meant to be.
What is the most challenging thing about being a CEO?
I feel a deep burden of responsibility to honor what God has called this organization to be, to our team, to the people we serve, and to those who stand with us, and to make the right decisions for the organization while also loving the individuals well.
What is something most people don’t know about you that you wish they did?
Because I can be reserved, people often think I am serious or quiet, but I love being with people, I love to laugh, and believe it or not, some even say I can be witty!