A Panorama Perspective: Team insight with Jim Zaniello

Our regular team insight feature is the chance to have a closer glimpse into our Panorama community. Jim Zaniello is President and Founder of Vetted Solutions in Washington DC. We are delighted that Jim has agreed to share his personal profile and insights into the regulatory and government-focused world in Washington DC.

Past, present and future
Vetted Solutions is the gateway to the unique world of trade associations and professional societies, and the special place that Washington, D.C. occupies in that world. There are more than 90,000 associations in the United States and one in ten people in Washington works for one of them. Speaking literally, a ‘panorama’ is a complete view of the entire picture. No group like ours can really claim a comprehensive view of the world of executive leadership without access to this space. We’re that entry point for the Panorama community.

Rainy day dreams 
In my dreams I’m tending my vineyard, or maybe my olive farm, in a warm place – probably somewhere deep in Tuscany, or off the main road in Sonoma. I tear myself away from time to time to do the search work that I love. But I recharge my batteries there making something other than CEOs grow and thrive.

True passion
Delivering more than anyone expects. Not just once, or now and then, but consistently, every time. Like my old tennis coach said: “You may not ever achieve perfection, but continuous trying will lead to excellence”. Nice sentiment. Nice passion to have, too.

Sum up your sector in three words
Uniquely purpose-driven.

Who do you view as a particularly inspiring leader, and why?
That has to be Churchill. Sure, he made his share of mistakes but he learned from them, and in the end stood almost alone, with the faith in himself and the incredible leadership skills needed to build the resolve among an entire world to defeat the greatest threat to western civilisation in modern history. If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.

How is digital innovation impacting the search for leaders in your markets?  
CEOs and directors may not have to be experts in all things digital. But they better recognise how the digital age is affecting every aspect of organisational activity and behaviours, and surround themselves with teams that can deal with it. Digital expertise isn’t a nice add-on anymore, anywhere. It’s a core competency.

Is there a sense of opportunity or trepidation within the US market relating to the rise of AI and innovative technology?
“Fear” or “trepidation” isn’t the right word. We know it’s the 900-pound gorilla lurking in the shadows of the leadership jungle, waiting to come fully into the light. But we’re still trying to think through all its implications, including both its threats and its opportunities. Smart leaders are keeping a close eye on it – and building the capacities they need to respond to it quickly.

Both in the UK and the US we are facing unprecedented political shifts – how does that affect what is required of leaders in your sector?
Leaders in our space have to move faster and be more adaptable than ever before. The political landscape seems to be in perpetual combat. Association members demand more services, more value. Non-profits are asked to do more and more. Special interest groups and causes expect more from all of them – more engagement in social causes, more accountability and transparency, more of everything. Non-governmental leaders have to see a bigger, more complex universe of stakeholders than ever before – and have a plan for dealing with all of them.

Get in touch with Jim

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