Marquis Emerging Leaders

Helen Zheng Zhang

Title: Senior Director, Strategic Business

Company: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: IL/USA

Education: Master of Business and Information Systems, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; Master’s Degree in Commerce and Accounting, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Career History: Senior Director, Strategic Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007-Present); Adjunct Instructor of Accountancy, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois; Business Programs Manager, Dell Australia, Sydney, Australia; Sales Operations, Hewlett-Packard (Now HP Inc.), Asia Pacific

Helen Zheng Zhang, Senior Director of Strategic Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business.

For nearly two decades, Ms. Zhang has been active as an educator, a business leader, and a budget officer at the institution. She has particular expertise in accounting, strategic planning, financial management, and business analysis. Among her several responsibilities, she oversees the budget planning, costing, modeling, data analysis, procurement—especially around software—and the IT integration processes for the entire university. She overall strives to ensure that the organization, and recently small businesses across private and public sectors, make the best, most informed decisions regarding investment. A senior director since 2021, she has been in the director position and a dedicated adjunct accounting instructor at the Gies College of Business since 2007, through which she mentors and guides students to achieve their full potential and succeed in their studies as well as offers advice, reviews their tax returns, and encourages their participation in the school’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Born in China, Ms. Zhang has always been incredibly goal-driven and eager to learn; she ultimately relocated to Australia to pursue higher education, earning a master’s degree in commerce and then a Master of Science in business information systems from Macquarie University in Sydney. She launched her career in sales operations for Hewlett-Packard and was a business programs manager at Dell Australia. Within her post at the University of Illinois, she has strived to always advocate for diversity and cultural differences, assisting immigrants and improving services for people and giving back to the community through engagement in various community service activities. She has been active as the president of the Chinese American Association of Central Illinois since 2024 and was recognized with an Outstanding Global Chinese Award from the American Golden Tripod organization in 2023. Additionally bolstered with credentials as a Senior Certified HR Professional and a Certified Public Accountant, she has long maintained her membership with the Society for Human Resource Management.

Ms. Zhang believes that with determination and hard work, one can achieve anything they set their mind to. Looking toward the future, she strives to grow and serve the community at a higher level. Through her accounting background, she wants to help more people access accounting services and provide them with benefits, value, and assistance in achieving success. She is committed to providing the community with exceptional services enabling them to thrive, especially Asian children, for whom she advocates and participates in services to provide them with more opportunities and visibility.

Outside of work, Ms. Zhang values her time with her husband and two children, connecting with friends, visiting museums, appreciating art, swimming, and hiking.

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