Jake Vander Zanden

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Principal Consultant, McDermott & Bull Executive Search

Jake Vander Zanden is a Principal Consultant and member of McDermott & Bull’s Life Sciences Practice. His practice expertise includes Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, and Consumer Healthcare.

Jake spent over 25 years as a turnaround and growth leader with a proven track record of completing business transformations for companies like Allergan, Medtronic, Lumenis, and Hoya Surgical Optics, among others.

Along with his partners, he co-founded VANDER ZANDEN Group in 2006, a global consultancy focused on helping companies grow their business in international markets, including Japan via a partnership with inFinitures Consulting.

Most recently, Jake was Chief Commercial Officer at Presbia, where he helped to both launch and grow the company, as well as complete a $50M IPO. He has deep expertise in strategic planning, product & market development, market expansion, international distribution, IPO’s, brand management, product lifecycle management, sales, and sales training.

Jake’s success has come from his ability to quickly and continuously develop high performing teams and guide their achievement of company-changing initiatives, regardless of country, language, culture, or product group.

He serves as an Expert-in-Residence at Applied Innovation at the University of California, Irvine. He is a past board member for Prevent Blindness America, and Advisor to Fitbug Holdings and the Sand Hill Incubator. Currently he serves as Marketing Coordinator for Meals-in-a-Box™, an organization which provides food and aid to organizations serving veterans and their families in Southern California.

Jake Vander Zanden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Management from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Needless to say, I was raised to be a huge Packers fan – in fact, my 92-year-old mom plans her annual departure for her home in Florida based on the last game of the season!  While I had a small-town upbringing, I have traveled, lived, and worked all over the world, including Japan, Korea, South Africa, France, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, and China.  I’ve been a very active adventurer, with exploits that include:

  • A month-long Winter wilderness survival journey in the Canadian Boundary Waters
  • Swimming with sharks at the wall of the Great Barrier reef and at Jeffries Bay waiting for the perfect wave
  • Spelunking in ancient Mayan caves in the rainforest and free-diving with giant tortoises in Belize
  • Climbing to the top of Mt. Halla on Jeju Island in Korea
  • Driving the Tuli Block in Zimbabwe through the bush and jungle in the mud all the way to Botswana
  • Seeing all of the “Big Five” up close on countless safaris in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya
  • Spending three weeks roughing-it in the jungle and on the beach in the remote island of Comoros, off the coast of Africa
  • Hiking to one of the highest points of the Great Wall of China, the depths of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the top of the Eiffel Tower, the steps of the Coliseum, the Red Fort and Taj Mahal in India, and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
  • Seeing the Northern Lights from Reykjavik, the endless sunset in St. Petersburg, and the sunrise in Buenos Aires
  • Sailing on almost every major body of water I’ve encountered in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and of course, the Atlantic and Pacific (my favorite is still the Great Lakes where I grew up sailing)

I’ve been married to Jessica, my best friend/chief strategist/advisor for 25 years.  I’m the father of four beautiful children and CBT (Chief Ball Thrower) for my two rescue dogs, Chopper and Rocket.

The kitchen is my haven – as a very enthusiastic (but not talented) chef, I spend most nights and weekends cooking for my kids and their friends in my impromptu restaurant.

Caring for veterans and ending hunger are my primary societal callings, and I work with the Meals-in-a-Box Program to help provide food for many charitable organizations serving veterans and their families in Southern California.