An image of relationships comes to mind when one takes a look at the career of Kristi Telschow ’05: relationships that inspired her to build businesses of her own and relationships she establishes with clients.
“I always talked about how I’d do things differently if I were in charge,” says Telschow, owner of two companies, Jersey Staffing and Jersey IT Solutions in Mount Arlington, N.J., where she oversees a staff of eight and maintains an average of 250 job placements each year. So, encouraged by two entrepreneurs in her life — her mother, Linda, a CPA who shares space in the same office, and her fiancé, Louis D’Angeli — she developed a business proposal and was up and running within a few months. D’Angeli, an entrepreneur with 16 years’ experience, is chief operating officer at Jersey Staffing and chief information officer for Jersey IT Solutions.
Jersey Staffing, opened in 2010, specializes in helping firms fill temporary, temporary-to-permanent and direct placement staff in the senior management, information technology, administrative, clerical, human resources and light industrial fields. Jersey IT Solutions sells hardware and software and offers information technology services. Clients for both companies range from small and midsize firms to Fortune 500 companies.
Successful entrepreneurs must build strong relationships with clients and demonstrate both accountability and leadership, Telschow says. They can’t be afraid to push the boundaries of their comfort zones. These are lessons she has taken to heart.
She remembers the early cynics and how she proved them wrong when they warned she’d never get the financial backing to open Jersey Staffing. “My second loan,” she says, “was the largest loan not requiring collateral ever approved in New Jersey by the nonprofit organization, UCEDC.”
Since she opened Jersey Staffing, her rapid success has not gone unnoticed. She was recognized last year by NJBiz as one of 40 Under 40 young entrepreneurs in the state, was featured as a leading entrepreneur by Forbes Magazine in March 2013, and was a finalist for the New Jersey Leading Women Entrepreneurs award in 2012. She was chosen to serve on the board of directors of the New Jersey Staffing Alliance. And she received a 2014 Maroon and Gold Award during BU’s Alumni Weekend, honored as an accomplished young alumna.
Telschow believes her education — a degree in business management with a concentration in human resources and an internship with Arthur Rose Associates — prepared her well. She worked for both private and international staffing firms before starting her own businesses.
Jersey Staffing is a certified woman-owned business, which gives her a leg up with large Fortune 500 companies tasked with meeting diversity initiatives. “It opens a lot of doors for us,” she explains. “We have access to a list of companies that want to do business with firms like ours.”
Telschow says the sense of accomplishment she gets from “making something my own” and the flexibility to balance her work and personal life are the two benefits she most appreciates about being a business owner. That flexibility enables her to share what she’s learned as a volunteer with Junior Achievement of New Jersey, teaching financial literacy to children. Through Junior Achievement, she also participates in a program that gives high school girls a chance to meet positive role models and benefit from one-on-one mentoring.
“I tell them nothing happens overnight, something my chief operating officer has said to me many times. It’s important to keep positive and to remember that everyone is like you, working toward their own goals. We all want and deserve a chance to succeed.” •
Sue A. Beard is a retired newspaper editor and freelance writer based in Fort Myers, Fla.