Unleashing Authenticity: Julie Zhu and her Marketing Journey

Julie Zhu Exeleon Women

In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, visibility and marketing are indispensable. For entrepreneurs, establishing a strong online presence is crucial. This involves more than just being seen; it’s about creating meaningful connections with the audience.

Effective marketing strategies empower entrepreneurs to tell their unique stories, differentiate their brands, and resonate with their target market.

Julie Zhu is an example of a marketing strategist and entrepreneur who specializes in helping business owners build bold online presence and establish market visibility.

A Columbia University graduate, Julie has worked with reputed brands like Ogilvy PR, Lincoln Center, and various creatives and entrepreneurs.

She is passionate about simplifying marketing, finding unique brand voices, and empowering entrepreneurs to achieve visibility without being pushy or salesy. Her approach is characterized by empathy, curiosity, and the ability to create authentic connections.

Fittingly, she features on Exeleon Women’s Most Pioneering Women Leaders of the Year. Herein, we look into the journey of Julie Zhu, her ideas related to marketing, and her vision going forward.

A Diverse Childhood

Growing up, Julie loved nothing more than getting lost in a good detective book, playing the piano, or acting in school plays. She defines her childhood as something “pretty eclectic!”

After earning a master’s in communications from Columbia University, she found her way into the world of marketing, driven by her love for storytelling and connecting with people.

She explains, “It’s a field where every day is a unique adventure, allowing me to craft compelling narratives for a wide range of clients, from local artisans to corporate giants like JP Morgan Chase.”

Taking the Leap

During the summer of 2020, as the pandemic swept through the world and the city of New York shut down, Julie found herself in a small studio, diligently washing her hands and applying almond-flavored cream to combat the effects of overwashing!

It was during this time that an old lawyer friend reached out to her, facing a crisis of her own. The pandemic had caused a significant loss of clients, and she lacked the digital presence to rebuild her practice.

Julie’s friend, like many others, was hesitant about navigating the complex world of social media and online marketing. Together, they embarked on a transformative journey:

  • They identified where her client base could be found online.
  • They crafted a comprehensive 90-day marketing plan.
  • Within just a few months, they successfully expanded her social media following, secured podcast invitations, and garnered media mentions, all the while attracting a stream of new clients.

By alleviating the stress associated with marketing efforts, her friend was liberated to focus on becoming a thought leader in her field, unburdened by the demands of managing social media accounts.

Last year, at the grand opening of her second office in New Jersey, Julie’s friend inspired her to take the next step. Recognizing her exceptional work and her ability to make a tangible difference in the lives of entrepreneurs, she urged her to start her own business.

She hasn’t looked back ever since.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

While collaborating with early-stage businesses, Julie first-hand saw the unique hurdles faced by women as well as minority entrepreneurs, especially in areas like fundraising and scaling up.

She remembers, “I wanted to be part of the solution – to aid these entrepreneurs in crafting and sharing their stories, enhancing their business presence and viability, highlighting their unique strengths, and connecting them with their ideal audiences.”

Today, working with these women and minority entrepreneurs provides her with real joy and fulfilment. “There’s a real joy in co-creating marketing strategies that help their businesses stand out and shine.”

Julie advices emerging women entrepreneurs with a simple yet effective statement – be unapologetically you.

She adds, “In marketing, your unique essence is invaluable. Embracing and expressing your authenticity is what will truly set you apart. You can sense the authenticity whether in a mission statement or a brand campaign you’re creating.”

A Day in the Life of Julie Zhu

My day usually kicks off with an energizing activity, like kickboxing or cycling. Then I dive into strategic consultations and brainstorming sessions with clients. These are the parts of my day where I connect, collaborate, and create – working together to bring innovative ideas to life. In the evening, I switch gears to some creative planning, where I map out future projects and strategies. I always end my day reflecting on a gratitude list.

Mentoring is also a key part of my routine. I devote time to guiding small business owners, particularly women entrepreneurs, by offering personalized marketing suggestions through programs like SCORE and WENYC. This mentorship, a two-way street of learning and sharing, is incredibly fulfilling.

Pioneering Spirit

For Julie, a pioneer is someone who’s not afraid to stand out. These leaders take risks, rewrite the rules, and transform the game.

Leading her team, she encourages pushing creative boundaries and forging new paths rather than following the crowd. It’s this commitment to innovation that sets her and her team apart.

She passionately points out, “We believe in forging our own path rather than following others.”

The Vision Ahead

Julie’s vision extends beyond her personal success. She is passionate about building a strong, supportive community for women and minority entrepreneurs. Most importantly, she is excited about the upcoming events and programs that will foster in-person interactions and community building,

Grateful for the progress made by her brand this year, she mentions “This year, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with phenomenal brands like Asia Society, Soho House, Diane von Furstenberg, and Suntory. A highlight was organizing a special event at Soho House New York for AAPI Heritage Month.”

She continues, “We brought together established API leaders and notable entrepreneurs who shared their stories, challenges, and practical tips. These gatherings are about more than just a panel talk or networking – they’re about creating a safe and nurturing space for learning, sharing, and collective growth.”


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