1. Be passionate about your topic.
  2. Keep your opinions and judgments to yourself.
  3. Ask open-ended questions.
  4. Create a safe environment for your participants.
  5. Start without preconceptions.
  6. Find out what clients need to hear, not what they want to hear.
  7. Respect the sensitivities of your participants.
  8. Everyone deserves to be heard.
  9. Expect the unexpected.
  10. Never stop exploring…until the time’s up!


B. Lee Zacharias, Principal

A 30-year veteran in the health care field, Lee Zacharias founded The Zacharias Group in 1997 and remains the sole owner. As the principal moderator, she conducts hundreds of focus groups and interviews, and facilitates various meetings each year throughout the U.S.

She is passionate about her work on health issues because she believes that it can have a significant impact on public policy. She takes pride in helping ensure that all constituencies have a chance to be heard—even populations who present challenges, such as those with physical or mental disabilities, low-income and non-English speakers.

Lee’s approach to research is informed by her extensive direct experience positions in hospital social work, public policy and advocacy.

She has held a variety of management positions at the following Washington, DC organizations:

  • National Health Policy Forum—Assistant Director
  • American Hospital Association—Director of Field Development
  • Frederick Schneiders Research—Vice President, Health Care Research

Her earlier work in hospital social work includes:

  • Hermann Hospital (Houston)—Administrative Director, Social Work
  • St. Luke’s Hospital (Kansas City)—Director, Department of Social Work
  • Magee-Women’s Hospital (Pittsburgh)—Assistant Director, Department of Social Work, and Social Worker, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

She has also served as a Congressional Fellow, and is a member of the Qualitative Research Consultants’ Association, Academy Health, the International Association of Facilitators and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.

Lee Zacharias earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Texas. She has also received RIVA Market Research Training and Certifications In Mediation and Facilitation form the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Click here for or a complete list of her competencies in Project Development, Coordination & Analysis; Facilitation/Communication; and Program/Project Development & Management.

Janet Brookman, Field Director

Janet Brookman has managed qualitative research projects for The Zacharias Group since 1999. She coordinates and oversees all aspects of each project, including group location logistics, participant recruitment, on-site field management and note taking.

Over the years, she has developed specialized methodologies that give TZG an edge in meeting client recruitment goals:

  • Innovative location project sites, both in traditional and complex, non-traditional facilities;
  • Strong support of respondents, including those with special needs;
  • Creative planning for large multi-site projects; and
  • Development of complex, highly effective screening instruments.

Before joining TZG, Brookman was Director of Membership Development for the American Hospital Association, overseeing membership recruitment and retention efforts among hospitals, health care systems, and corporate members. She has more than 30 years of experience in association management, including organizational planning and development, marketing and finance.

She has a B.A. from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); is a graduate of Notre Dame University’s Institute for Organization Management; and was trained as a moderator at the RIVA Institute in Bethesda, MD.