Helen Zak

President and Chief Operating Officer

Helen Zak’s 35-plus years of Lean leadership experience includes executive and advisory roles in the non-profit and healthcare industries, as well as engineering roles at General Motors and plant management at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Prior to joining Value Capture, Helen was President of Catalysis, a not-for-profit educational institute with a mission to transform the healthcare industry using Lean thinking. Helen helped found and build the organization, and her most recent role included leading Executive Forums for CEO’s, Physician Leaders and Nurse Leaders, and developing a Network of Lean healthcare executives in Europe.

Helen also served as COO of the Lean Enterprise Institute, where she worked with Jim Womack to expand the understanding and application of Lean principles and methodology throughout the world and to every industry. She has contributed to 20 published works, designed numerous educational experiences, including the annual Lean Transformation Summits, and is a frequent speaker on the topic of Lean.

Helen helped to establish the Lean Education Academic Network, The Lean Global Network, the Catalysis Healthcare Value Network, the Center for Lean Engagement and Research, and the Catalysis Executive Forums under her leadership at the Lean Enterprise Institute and Catalysis.

She serves as faculty at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, a coach for the Master of Business of Operational Excellence Program at Fisher College of Business at Ohio State, an examiner for the Shingo Prize, and she sits on numerous boards.

Helen was inducted into the Association for Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame in 2017.

Helen is passionate about developing leaders and their ability to solve problems and effecting change in the healthcare system.


  • B.S., Marquette University, Mechanical Engineering
  • M.S., Kettering University, Operations Management
  • M.S., Kettering University, Manufacturing Management

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