York College Alumna, Business Owner Creates a Vibrant Company Culture
For Kristen Pucci ’16, the freedom to create her company’s culture has been the highlight of running her own business.
Creating the rules, expectations, and core values, and then hiring a team that aligns with her vision, has been one of the favorite parts of launching KRAE Consulting in Mechanicsburg, PA, for Kristen Pucci ’16. KRAE Consulting helps architectural, engineering, and construction companies with social media marketing and business development.
“I have a lot of younger women on my staff,” Pucci says. “I love that I have the opportunity now to be the type of manager that I did not have when I was younger. I love having the ability to be a mentor, manager, and friend. Creating a healthy work environment affects an employee’s entire life.”
A Career Sparked Through Internship
The journey toward owning a business started with a York College of Pennsylvania course that Pucci took in her senior year. She served in an internship with one of the top construction contractors in the area, attending meetings and collaborating with various departments at the company over several months. As a Marketing major, she helped develop a marketing plan and offered recommendations as to what the company could do differently in its communication strategies.
Pucci discovered that she loved the intersection of construction and marketing. She had grown up around the construction business and realized that many companies in the industry needed help with marketing.
After college, she worked for various organizations while consistently growing her social media following, especially on LinkedIn.
“Everyone should start upping their LinkedIn connections,” Pucci says. “It doesn’t matter what field you’re in. All the people that make decisions and make money are there.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Pucci was laid off, but she already had built the foundation to launch a business. She took her skills and experience and focused on what she was good at: marketing to architectural, engineering, and construction companies.
“I always thought I wanted to start my own business, but I didn’t know how or when,” she says.
One thing she clung to was that she wasn’t going to quit.
“If there’s anything that you want to do, you can do it,” she says. “You need to try. Don’t allow your insecurities or your friends or your family to tell you that you can’t do something. They don’t get to tell you who you are.”
Happiness Managers and a Family Connection
The KRAE team grew quickly. It includes six employees and two canine happiness managers. Her dog Raina makes regular appearances on Zoom calls and at client meetings.
In January 2022, Pucci added her latest team member: her dad, Steve Pucci. He serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, bringing years of experience as a mechanical engineer and supply chain guru to the logistics side of the business.
“Ten years ago, I never could have imagined it,” Pucci says. Her dad now serves as her “right-hand guy,” helping with negotiations and tracking the company’s data and policies.
A culture of generosity also pervades the KRAE team. Pucci volunteers time and expertise as a marketing consultant with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, animal rescue groups, and New Hope Ministries of South Central Pennsylvania.
“I’m very passionate about it,” she says. “I believe that if you do good things, good things come back to you.”