In a fast-paced world, Audrey Sommerfeld strives to be the steady rock that people can trust and rely on and to be a voice of reason, logic, and hope. She is dedicated to assisting others in living their best lives, which includes assisting them with the pillars of health, wealth, living, and giving. She says, “My purpose is to inspire others to live their best life—on their terms and to strive to be better each day than they were the day before. Inside work, I am driven to continue to improve and grow our company and our people.”
Audrey considers it a pleasure to be the Founder and CEO of JUMP TO HEALTHTM INC, to be responsible for the company’s operations and future growth, to establish teams and relationships with workers, and to interact with and inspire our customers and team members. When she hears client testimonials, she finds it to be the best part of her day. She states, “When they lose weight and feel better about themselves, when their blood pressure has improved, and they call me crying, because their doctor told them their blood work is the best it’s been in years. Those are the nights I go to sleep and say, “This is why we do what we do.” It makes the work, the worry, and the sleepless nights of building a company worth it.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Audrey Sommerfeld and World’s Leaders:
Describe your background and what you did before you started/joined the company?
I grew up in a small town in the middle of pretty much nowhere in Minnesota. I put myself through college, working full time and going to school full time nights, earning 2 degrees. After college, with the encouragement of my friend Myra I applied to the top business schools and attended Kellogg Graduate School of Management. I have worked in large companies, on many household brands ranging from Oil of Olay, Mylanta, Pepcid, Tylenol New Products, Johnson’s Baby, Neutrogena, and small ones too. I went on to work in direct sales at Herbalife, where my team created and launched 44 new products into 59 countries—wow. What a learning experience that was! I then went to see if I had what it took to be part of a start-up, a company called ViSalus, and helped create the products and programs that grew them from $4MM to $632MM in sales. I fell in love with the direct selling channel because you get to know the people who use your products and see the true impact you can have on their lives. In retail, you worry about shelf space, coupons, and advertising. In the direct sales channel, you worry about families, and the impact they can have on their incomes and their health. It was life changing and inspired me to work harder.
Tell us about the inception of the company. How did it all start?
My team and I helped grow a former company from $4 million in sales to over $632 million, where we learned what it takes to start a company and how ego and greed can destroy it too. That company no longer exists, but our dream to change the world—to end obesity, sugar addiction and help people get off medications—was still part of what we wanted to do. So, the team I worked with in 2 prior companies, who helped put those products in 59 countries, came together to create a company that put health first and center, with more education, more support, and more tools to help people make lasting changes. When you help someone (working with their doctor) get off blood sugar medications, or pain medications, or mood medications, – you know you have done something wonderful. To us, it is more than being a great weight management company – we are driven to be a life-changing company.
What has made you successful? What do you value?
The key thing is hard work. I have worked many long hours and paid many dues on the career path from entry level to corner office in some large companies, with large budgets and the politics that go with it. I value people who share recognition vs. those who steal credit for ideas, who are honest and straight forward, and who have the courage to provide candid feedback and thoughtful challenge of belief. I appreciate and respect those who are loyal and hard working. I think you can get far with an attitude of learning, a little humility, a sense of humor, and a drive to compete within yourself to be better. I have been blessed with curiosity and a desire to keep learning.
Which are the major services of the company and how do they help the company to get ahead in the competition? What value-added services does the company provide?
We started the company to always be more than just a product company—but to also offer ways to change lives in the 4 key pillars of health, wealth, living, and giving. At In Health, we provide natural products, at affordable prices, with meal plans and education to help people fight health challenges and get better with better nutrition. We offer 12 weeks of weekly emails on health, hydration, and sleep because we don’t teach health in school anymore and even our health care workers get very little training in nutrition.
We provide more education, tools, community, and perks for being a member of Jump To Health™, being more than a product company, but a life changing company that has great products.
What are the most important aspects of a company’s culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
Our culture is one of teamwork and supporting each other, because our mission is so large. When your mission is to save lives, to end sugar addiction, obesity and an over reliance on medications, then the rest is easy. We honor and respect diversity in people, backgrounds, opinions, and value those who have the courage to speak their minds when the focus is on helping us improve as a company. We have learned that negative people can be detrimental, and that startups are not for everyone. So we value the optimist, the realist, and those who are not afraid to be a pioneer for change.
What is the significance of innovative ideas in the company?
It is everything! It is everything to innovate in how we communicate, connect, motivate and encourage, recognize and reward. Each day, our team is asked what we can do better—better products, better programs, better processes, better people development, better planning. The day you think you are done is the day your company begins to die. We will never be done growing and improving.
Give us your opinion on whether organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes?
Teams are where it is at. If an individual needs to be heroic, then you have a problem. This means either your team is not allowed to use their brains and work with integrity, or that you have the wrong people on the team. I’ve worked in companies where the team worked hard, had fun, and felt valued – and those were the jobs I worked my hardest at because they were rewarding. When I worked in companies where there was jockeying for attention and honor, then you get into politics and backstabbing. I’d rather have more fun, less politics, and stronger teams.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Be humble, realize that your team members may be smarter than you and you can learn from them, and that leadership is not always about having the right answer but having the right attitude. It is about listening, learning, inspiring, coaching, and helping grow and develop people. If you focus on that, your teams will feel valued. They will know that you have their back, and they will have yours. And if you find someone on your team who is negative and can’t be trusted, get them out before they destroy the team culture and so they can find a place where they can be happy.