The Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship is introducing their new executive director, Michelle Gjerde.

Gjerde founded and operated a the firm Propel, a sales and marketing consulting firm in Minneapolis for 14 years.

“Start-ups are my passion. I especially enjoy helping entrepreneurs align their vision with real market opportunity." Gjerde said. "I am fascinated with the entire product innovation process, from conception to launch to profitability and I see a growing need for entrepreneurial resources and support. I’m grateful for the opportunity to position Zeal as the ‘go to’ hub for innovation here in my home state of South Dakota.”

Gjerde was among the first employees at Gateway, working directly with co-founder Ted Waitt as the company’s first internal public relations manager. Her career led her to Minnesota-based software pioneer Firepond and on to Silicon Valley where she joined high-tech PR firm Copithorne & Bellows, representing Hewlett Packard and Iomega.

Gjerde is originally from Vienna, South Dakota.

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