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How She Got There: Kristi Zuhlke, Founder of New Consumer Solutions LLC

Name: Kristi Zuhlke
Age: 29

Job Title and Description: CEO & Founder of New Consumer Solutions LLC
I started my business in the summer of 2011.  The company is focused on creating tools that empower people to take control of their health to live longer, happier lives.  My first tool, Mole Detectiveâ, was launched January 6th, 2012.  It’s a smartphone app that takes pictures of moles and analyzes your symptoms of melanoma. 

College: Xavier University, Double major: Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Website: www.moledetective.com 
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Kristi Zuhlke: Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats.  In any given day I am finance, marketing, business strategy, brand development, market research, public relations, and sales. Some days I focus on business strategy and what will be next for innovation, and other days I work on the marketing plan.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it? 
KZ: Although I had started my own business in college, Procter & Gamble is where I secured my first job after graduation. I was the voice of the consumer on everything from designing new products to creating TV commercials.  It was a great balance between marketing, psychology, and ethnography.  I started my career on the Always brand based in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to other brands from there.
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
Be a sponge—this is relevant for any industry. Watch people who you think are great at their job and observe people who you think are terrible at their job.  Ask lots of questions and absorb as much as you can.  There is no better way to learn than watching the best and learning from other people’s mistakes.

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better? 
During my junior and senior year of college, I had been planning on starting a business right after graduation.  Some advice from a mentor sent me in a totally different direction.  She encouraged me to join a bigger company first.  Her advice was to learn from other people and find a place where making a mistake has less risk. Working at a company before starting my own has been some of the best advice I have received.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I never want to be in a position in life where I look back and think, “What if I would have…” This is one of the reasons why I left my job at P&G.  I needed to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. You can never live a dream if you don’t try.

HC: What is the best part of your job? 
My success is purely dependent on what I do each and everyday.  It’s rewarding to see sales come in knowing what you did the day before is the reason for your sales.  I feel like I have complete control over my company’s success or failure.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
I look for someone whose personality and values are aligned with my company’s mission and objectives.  Second, I look for someone who is a leader and excellent problem solver.  I want to know that the person can work independently and when given a direction they can execute with creativity and excellence.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations? 
Treat everyone as if they are your instant friends. Helping others is very rewarding and when you need a favor, you know where you can turn.

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Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.