Erika Yigzaw, B.Com, LL.B. (Hons)

Erika Yigzaw pictured with family


Undergraduate courses taught: NAT 306

Head, Alumni Coaching Program

Chair, Center for Excellence in Teaching, Technology, and Assessment

Founder and Member of ACHS Sustainability Committee

Areas of Expertise: Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Compliance, Online Course and Program Development, Assessment, Learning Outcomes, Accreditation, Technology, Sustainability, Strategic Planning, Employee Benefits

Erika Yigzaw is President at ACHS. She is also a Faculty Member, serves as the Chief Compliance Officer and heads the Social Media and Inbound Marketing teams. She holds a Bachelors Degree (B.Com.) in Commerce (Economics major) from the University of Otago; an LL.B. (first professional law degree) from the University of Otago Law School; and has completed the Master Gardener program through Oregon State University. She has over 18 years of experience in online learning and 39 years’ experience in distance learning and education. 

Before joining ACHS USA in 1997, Erika spent three years practicing corporate commercial law as a Barrister and Solicitor with one of New Zealand’s largest commercial law firms, Bell Gully Buddle Weir, in the Wellington then Auckland offices. She advised several multinational dietary supplement companies as well as being involved with mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property issues. She also has research experience from the University of Otago Law Library, where she worked during law school, and as a researcher at stockbroking firm Buddle Wilson.

Erika has been an advisor to the Aromatherapy Registration Council since its inception in 1997 and was volunteer webmaster for that non-profit group for 12 years. She has been a speaker at International Herb Association (IHA) and Herb Growers and Marketers Network (HGMN) conferences on legal issues in the natural health industry, on Outcomes Assessment at the 2006 fall workshop of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), and on distance learning technology at the 2010 Annual Conference and Meeting of the DEAC (formerly DETC). She has been active on many DEAC task forces, including outcomes assessment and technology, and has been an active member of the DEAC Business Standards Committee since 2008. She is a DEAC Education and Business Standards Evaluator and Chair, and has served on more than 10 site visits for initial and re-accreditation for DEAC. She delivered the keynote address on Top 12 Technologies for 2012 to the DEAC in Santa Fe in October. In 2012 she received the Distinguished Recognition Award from DEAC for her work in advancing the field of distance education. Erika was also awarded the 2017 DEAC Innovation Award that recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual or a team in creating and successfully implementing a novel approach to improve the quality of service and/or the creativity in the delivery of distance education in ways that make a significant and positive difference to the learning experience for students enrolled at a DEAC-accredited institution.

Erika has an extensive variety of experiences in distance education methodology and administration, specializing in online program teaching and administration since 1999. She has experience both as a student: taking programs by distance learning in Spanish through New Zealand Correspondence Schools and eCommerce through Portland Community College and as an instructor at ACHS since 1999. She was the team leader in taking the College's courses online in 1999 to WebCT and in 2001 migrating to eCollege (which later became Pearson Learning Studio). She was a member of the Pearson Product Advisory Board for several years. In 2016 she is leading a team of ACHS stakeholders, including faculty, students, alumni and administration, in selecting and then migrating the College from Pearson Learning Studio to the Canvas platform. She stays abreast of current methodologies through various conferences and courses with the DEAC and by regularly attending conferences on online learning, including the CITE conference, UBTech (including in 2012 where she participated in the University Business Program for the Top 35 CIOs in Education).

Erika is an expert in inbound marketing and social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Her achievements including migrating the College to hubspot in 2012, a platform that supports ACHS's inbound marketing model and creating the College's social media strategy and policies. She is an active blogger.

In 2015, Erika became involved with the Center for Parental Leave Leadership and lobbied to institute paid parental leave for all new parents at ACHS.

In addition to her professional training and experience, Erika has been involved with ACHS since it was founded in New Zealand. She worked part time for ACHS through school and College and has been with ACHS in the USA full time since 1997. She has always been passionate about education, and has volunteered extensively in her children's schools, including serving as the elected Site Council representative at Edy Ridge Elementary for three years, which included developing and maintaining the School Improvement Plan and serving as the PAC Board Media and Marketing Director for three years. 

Erika completed the Master Gardener program through Oregon State University in 2008. She volunteers throughout the Portland area as a Master Gardener and is an advocate of sustainable living and green practices in both her personal and professional life. In her spare time, Erika and her family run a sustainable lavender farm in Sherwood, Oregon, where they also keep chickens, bees, horses, cats, dogs, fish, and occasionally rescued alpacas, llamas, and goats. She is a member of the Oregon Lavender Association. She has three children, including twins, and her oldest is currently completing her K12 education through Connections Academy online.

Click here to schedule a time to speak with Erika:


eCollege online training course
Center for Internet Technology in Education Conferences 1999-2009
DEAC (formerly DETC) 1997-2012
UBTech 2012

DEAC October 2015


Online 6 days per week



“Top 12 Technologies for 2012” Keynote presentation at the DETC Fall Workshop Santa Fe October 2012

“Top 10 Technologies for 2010” presentation at DETC annual conference California April 2010

June 28, 2011 10 AM: Webinar: The Importance Of Accreditation By Erika Yigzaw


Conferences Attended:

10/16-18/12: DETC: Fall Workshop, Nashville, Tennessee 

07/14-16/12: Oregon State University: Master Gardener Mini College, Newport, Oregon

04/12: DETC annual conference: Maui, Hawaii 

04/18/12: Title IV Financial Aid Seminar Maui, Hawaii 

06/11/12: UB Tech CIO Summit – invitation only, Las Vegas, NV

06/11-13/12: UB Tech Conference: Invited participant to Roundtable for Top 35 CIOs in the US.

06/14-16/12: Natural Products Association Convention, Las Vegas, NV

10/14-18/12: DETC: Fall Workshop, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Presented Keynote

10/18-20, 2015 DEAC Fall Workshop Palm Springs

Webinars Attended:

02/16/11: Taskstream webinar

04/21/11: University Business Web seminar, McGraw-Hill's new digital resource platform: Unlimited access to all content by any professor at no cost

07/07/11: Webinar: The Importance Of Accreditation By Erika Yigzaw

10/13/11: Hubspot “How to Excel at Event Marketing with Social Media”

11/1/11: Plattform: Misrepresentation and 3rd Party Vendors

11/1/11: Online Higher Education Learning Collaborative webinar, Online Higher Education Market Update 2011

11/2/11: "The Moodle “Top 10”: The Benefits of an Enterprise Open-Source e-Learning Platform"

11/30/11: US Lavender Association Webinar: state of the industry

07/31/12: University Business Magazine

10/13/11: Sonic Foundry: RAO Making Connections: Student Service through Social Networking LIVE Webinar

11/1/11: Plattform: Misrepresentation and 3rd Party Vendors

05/14/12: Webinar DETC DETC: Webinar on State Authorization Eastern Time

08/2012: Webinar: Sonic Foundry: Understanding the mindset of modern students

11/6/12: Natural Fertility Management, with Dr. Jaclyn Chasse

11/13/12: Hubspot webinar 1 Email nurturing:

11/20/12: Hubspot webinar 2 Email nurturing:

11/27/12: Hubspot webinar 3 Email nurturing:

11/28/12: Hubspot webinar: Intro to Workflows

11/30/12: Academic Advising: The Future Of Student Success.

12/10/12: Hubspot Social Media

12/11/12: ABMP School Marketing Webinar

12/20/12: Webinar: A Good Night's Sleep for a Better Day's Wake


1/10/2013 "The Scoop": NANP & the Board Exam in Holistic Nutrition


October 18-20 DEAC Fall Workshop, Palm Springs, CA


February 1-28 2016 Diploma in Social Media: 8 live webinars, 1.5 hours each; 5 assignments plus final exam. Passed with Distinction

March 2016: Shaw Academy Blogging Class: 8 live webinars, 1.5 hours each; 5 assignments plus final exam. Passed with Distinction