As part of our series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO’ we had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Wetekamp.
Jim Wetekamp is the CEO of Riskonnect, the leading provider of integrated risk management software. Jim is a recognized expert on enterprise risk, supply chain, and procurement. He has more than 20 years of product and leadership experience, most recently serving as CEO of BravoSolution, a Chicago-based cloud procurement solutions company.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I started my professional career at IBM in the accounting function. It was a great entry point to build a career in technology. I was introduced to digital transformation and the ins and outs of working with a business that spanned computer hardware, software, cloud enablement technologies, and more. After coming to understand how businesses in the software space operate, I had the opportunity to join a small startup that sat at the intersection of cloud-based software and the supply chain. Over the next decade, I gained experience working in roles across finance, technology, product management, sales, and marketing, and also worked on several business acquisitions, both as a seller and a buyer. This path eventually led me to Riskonnect.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Everyone knows the world isn’t the same as it was a week ago, never mind years ago. The market has vastly changed over the past four years. When we used to talk about integrated risk management, it was 90% evangelism and only 10% action. Today, integrated risk management is the starting point of conversations. The companies we talk with want to know what they need to do to get toward their end goals. Rather than simply talking about the risks the organization faces overall, we discuss root-causes, outside factors, and realistic goals to form a comprehensive action plan. I’ve found that by working in increments towards the long-term goals we’ve set, we actually get more done than just jumping to achieve short-term gains that end up costing more in the long run.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Why limit this answer to when you’re starting? Even tenured professionals make mistakes every day — I’m sure there are plenty more funny mistakes to be made in my future. However, there is one specific mistake that comes to mind. Relatively early in my career, I was demonstrating a new product to a prospect. During the presentation the application I was using stopped working correctly — in fact, the whole screen shut down. But because I had been so diligent in my preparation for the meeting, I wasn’t willing to admit the software bug was putting a wrench in my presentation. I continued to try to demo the product three more times, convinced that the software issue would fix itself — long story short, it didn’t. Though it was only a small error, it showed me how important it is to move on if something isn’t perfect, instead of trying the same thing again and expecting a different result.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Read Jim’s answer to this and more questions in Authority Magazine >>