Zachary Mannheimer
Zachary Mannheimer
Age 33  |  Executive director, Des Moines Social Club

Zachary Mannheimer arrived in Des Moines with the idea of using art as a catalyst to bring people with a wide range of ideas together. His idea turned some heads – some the wrong way, possibly – but he prevailed in establishing the Des Moines Social Club.

“Zach had to create a new nonprofit organization for Des Moines that not many people could relate to,” Shawn Harrington of eDossea Inc. said in nominating Mannheimer. “His hard work and skill brought members of the community together in a way that had never been done before in Des Moines.”

Mannheimer’s skills are varied. He is a sommelier, a philosopher, a producer and an author of plays. He has launched theater projects and restaurants in New York.

He traveled to 22 cities to find the right locale for his social club.

“I wanted to be in a place where things were beginning to evolve and I could make an impact right away,” Mannheimer said. “Also, the people here were very helpful. I planned to spend a year; if I didn’t like the way things were going, I would go to Reno. Ultimately, what I love about Des Moines is that people are very generous, you have access to top-level talent … and the city and county are very embracing of this kind of concept.”

The Des Moines Social Club opened in 2009. One of the key lessons Mannheimer learned was that he couldn’t make things happen at the snap of his fingers. He names Suku Radia, president and CEO of Bankers Trust Co., as a mentor. Radia told him to learn a little patience.

“There was an element of instant gratification in him that has subsided,” Radia said, “and he has come to realize that it takes things a while to come to realization.”

Mannheimer has gained recognition for his efforts, having received the Governor’s Volunteer Award from former Gov. Chet Culver and the Amy Jennings Young Professional of the Year Award.

“Zach has moved the needle of the arts in Des Moines in the short time he has been in the city in his creation of the Des Moines Social Club,” said Christian Renaud, board chair at the Des Moines Social Club and principal with Startup City Des Moines LLC.