Zemo Trevathan

Chief Rabble Rouser

Zemo thrives on breaking the rules. Ever since jumpstarting his first company in the early 90’s, he has been helping his clients do the same thing–figuring out which rules to follow, which new rules to create, and which rules to break. This has always been one of Zemo’s strengths–assisting leaders and their teams to identify the “rules” that have become success limitations, and replacing these in order to generate new beliefs, strategies and pathways to success. In two decades of service, Zemo has worked with people around the globe in a variety of industries: Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Federal and State Governments, and Universities, as well as non-profits and start-ups. He is especially energized when working across organizational layers–helping executive teams transform company strategy and culture into practical terms and employee engagement.

Zemo began his career in 1994, serving community organizations, small businesses and individual clients by founding LifeWorks Coaching and Consulting. The clients were diverse and passionate, including a cooperative grocery store, a community theatre director, and a PhD candidate just trying to “get that PhD done.” Zemo says of those days, “I can remember, at the end of the day, smiling and saying to my wife: ‘I am so lucky to be doing this work!”

I thrive on making the impossible happen,” Zemo says. “Especially when someone’s told me ‘Oh, you’ll never get them to work together,‘ seeing people actually talking through what seemed unspeakable or hopeless… That inspires me!

As his network of clients grew to include national and international organizations and corporations, the company was incorporated as Zemo Trevathan and Associates, Inc. Zemo still works with many of those same early clients, and still ends the day with gratefulness for having found such a joyful, challenging path of service.

Combining his incisive thinking and strategic skills with a lifelong motivation to foster compassion and connection, Zemo’s personal mission is to help organizations, teams and individuals increase their effectiveness at accomplishing what matters to them–together. Every engagement is unique, and Zemo delights in the process of getting to know each client and his or her current reality, to help map out the simplest process for getting them to where they want to go. One key element of Zemo’s approach is helping people see into and beyond their own blind spots: “Our most maddening challenges are often so difficult precisely because we are not seeing what the actual problem is–and it is often our own thinking and perceptions that mask it.”

Highlights among Zemo’s successful projects over the years include: leading a $1.1M culture change process for a TransAtlantic IT group that was centralizing and improving its architecture and services; facilitating the integration of formerly siloed and competing quality and manufacturing managers of a pharmaceutical plant into a unified team; helping leaders and scientists at sites in Western Europe, the midwestern US, and the northeastern US overcome their differences and resistance to forming a single global R and D organization.