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Feb 26
zina hassel, honored as one of the 50 leaders advancing the channel.

Zina Hassel – Channel Futures’ 50 Channel Influencers for 2024

Reposted from Channel Futures

Zina L. Hassel is the force behind ZLH Enterprises, a woman-owned business focusing on technology consultancy. She began the company in 2000 as a telecommunications business solutions provider and today it helps small, medium and enterprise customers navigate increasingly complicated business technology.

A veteran of more than 30 years in the channel, Hassel — like many others — first got involved unexpectedly.

“After the sale of our CLEC, I was answering questions for previous clients and it seemed to me that there was an unmet need,” she said. “Couple that with having been approached by suppliers to represent their products, and I embarked on what would become a 25-plus-year journey.”

Throughout that journey, Hassel has most enjoyed meeting and working with other members of the community.

“I absolutely love meeting all of the people and collaborating when we can. Faces are changing with new entrants all of the time; however, some of the original members of the channel are still here.”

When it comes to new entrants, Hassel isn’t a fan of the ongoing plethora of M&A going on in the channel.

“The Pac-Man acquisition mode in the channel has been disturbing for many years,” she said. “I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that ‘bigger is better.’  I don’t agree that if an agency is running business through a [technology services distributor (TSD)] that they should be in competition with their supplier. I had always seen the TSD as a go-to for additional information and resources.  I think that we all need to be concerned, as well, with the suppliers that have their direct sales teams trying to farm indirect channel accounts.  We find this to be a tiring exercise of asking those folks to find their own accounts. There is clearly enough business out there for everyone to play nicely in the sandbox.”

Hassel has received a number of awards, including the 2019 LEAD Award for excellence in leadership from the Alliance of Channel Women, the 2019 ABA Bronze Stevie Award for Woman of the Year in Business Services, the 2021 19th Annual American Business Awards for: Gold (Entrepreneur of the Year – Telecommunications), Silver (Woman of the Year – Business Services Industries), Bronze (Best Business Book); and 2021 NJBIA (New Jersey Businesses and Industry Association) for Executive of the Year. Hassel was also a member of the inaugural Channel Futures DE&I 101.

And what does she think is the most important lesson she’s learned during her career in the channel?

“Never take anything on face value and always sit back and listen to your clients,” she said. “At ZLH Enterprises, we don’t approach clients having something to sell. Rather, we prefer to educate clients on available products and solutions and then discuss applicability to the clients’ needs and future growth concerns.”

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