Question: Do you think your special qualification matters on Wall Street?
Answer: I don't tend to talk about being a female CEO because I don't think it's relevant in the investor world, but in terms of understanding the customer, it's very relevant.
Q: How so?
A: I have a deeper understanding for how people, largely women, struggle with weight and how it's an emotional issue, a nutritional issue, and a physical issue. It all has to come together in the [diet] experience. I'm very empathetic toward that because as a female, I've also struggled with that.
Q: Shares have gone up - with Nutrisystem now trading in the upper teens. Your weight is down. By how much?
A: Over the last 18 months, I lost 30 pounds.
Q: Using Nutrisystem?
A: I've tried Weight Watchers. I've tried Jenny Craig. I've tried Nutrisystem. I've tried them all. Obviously, I recommend Nutrisystem.
Q: Any New Year's resolutions?
A: I would like to lose 10 pounds.
Q: How about the company's weight problem?
A: When I came in November 2012, the company had been suffering revenue declines for the last five years. I'm a big believer that it's easy to drive revenue, but you have to make sure it's profit-generating revenue. One of my first focuses was to get the margins back in place.
Q: Did you immediately try to change the product in time for the all-important New Year's diet resolution first-quarter?
A: I came in November, so I had no ability to impact diet season. So this is my first diet season, which we are very excited about.
Q: You came to Nutrisystem after 20 years at Reader's Digest. Publishing? Diets? What's the link?
A: Reader's Digest was a great training ground for direct marketers - database marketing. That's so important to Nutrisystem.
Q: How so?
A: When we look at the diet for diet season 2014, it's really about Nutrisystem My Way, a more personalized and customized weight-loss experience. To build on that, we need to do more in the area of database marketing.
Q: What motivated your weight loss?
A: I think my wake-up moment was seeing a photo of myself. I decided enough was enough - if this was a business problem, I would solve it.
Q: What's your nemesis?
A: Ice cream.
Q: How do you cope?
A: There are [Nutrisystem] ice cream sandwiches, which really help me. Ice cream sandwiches are 150 calories instead of an ice cream sundae, which is about 1,000 calories.
Headquarters: Fort Washington.
Business: Weight loss.
Friday's close: $16.48, down 2.6%.
2012 Net Income:
Dawn M. Zier on the value of her MIT engineering degree. www.inquirer.com/jobbing
DAWN M. ZIER
Title: Chief executive, president, Nutrisystem Inc.
Hometown: Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
Weekdays: Willow Grove.
Family: Husband, Steven; children, Kyle, 18; Kirsten, 15.
Diplomas: State University of New York, electrical engineering and computer science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, master's degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and business administration.
Resumé: Reader's Digest Association, last heading its international division.
On the side: Bakes 12 kinds of Christmas cookies. Best cookie: Peanut butter blossom.