“Stay true in the dark and humble in the spotlight.”Harold B. Lee
IBM Canada | 22* Years
Employee Engagement Program Manager & Leadership Coach & Advisor
In 2016, Julie established the first employee engagement program for the IBM Consulting business unit of 3,000 employees. As the program manager, she had the responsibility for creating the overall strategy and mobilizing the leadership team to implement the strategy across approximately 30 practice groups varying in team size from less than ten to over 500. She created multiple cross Canada initiatives, including leadership development, a culture of feedback, resilience and mental health awareness and coach development skills learning experiences. Within the first year, the program improved employee engagement scores from double-digit negative to neutral and within two years leading scores for all business units and geographies within IBM. In parallel, the business unit exceeded its business results across multiple dimensions of revenue and profit.
The overall program expanded under Julie’s leadership with continuous improvement each year including the development of a strong volunteer base and the establishment of an additional full-time position dedicated to creating unique onboarding experiences for new employees. Additionally, Julie provided over 600 hours of 1:1 and group coaching to various leaders and teams focused on achieving their peak performance. She designed & facilitated leadership workshops and facilitated client team-building experiences for several top account teams in Canada.
In 2021 Julie successfully transitioned the IBM consulting employee engagement program to new leadership demonstrating the sustainability of the program. Julie continued was then asked to be the lead program advisor to the employee engagement program for all of IBM Canada for approximately 10,000 employees.
Mental Health Advisor | IBM Canada | 2 Years
While in the role of employee engagement program manager Julie was also asked to support the IBM Canada Mental Health Steering Committee as a mental health champion. As part of this team she worked on key initiatives to provide mental health leadership training to all managers. As an extension to this work, Julie established the first employee resource group focused on mental health in 2021 to amplify the voice of the employee and inspire collective action on for creating an environment where employees can be mentally healthy.
Learning & Knowledge Faculty Member | IBM North America | 5 Years
IBM Learning and Knowledge team provides education opportunities for skill development in multiple areas including coaching, leadership and consulting. IBM NA leveraged an approach that included bringing in business leaders into the classroom, training them to be learning facilitators and integrating their real-world experience into the training content. Because of her unique background in education and strengths as a facilitator and public speaker, Julie participated in both the co-design of education experiences and as a regular part-time faculty member for a wide range of courses and a wide range of levels within the organization. Classes sizes ranged from 12 to 100+ and were both in-person and virtual. Her average net promoter score as a faculty member was in the high 80s.
Executive Consultant and Portfolio Leader | IBM Canada | 5 Years
Julie held multiple roles as the Delivery Executive responsible for various practices and teams, providing strategic consulting, operations management, change management, and project and transition management across multiple industries and geographies. Notable executive leadership roles included overall operations management for approximately ~15million quarterly revenue for a portfolio of ~10 clients. Overall management includes setting business strategy for the portfolio, advising accounts on implementation and operational strategy, supporting sales and marketing activities both in Canada and globally, leading operational process Improvement, people management, financial management, client relationship management, addressing escalations from the client and/or IBM teams and developing practitioner’s capabilities relative to the market.
Overall Julie spent 22 years as a consultant and leader within the IBM Canada team. The * is because IBM bought PwCC. See below.
Consultant | PriceWaterhouseCoopers | 3 years
Julie started her role as a consultant with Price Waterhouse in the United States before moving to Canada just as the merger was completed between PW and Coopers & Lybrand. As a consultant, she was part of several large-scale ERP implementations advancing quickly from developer to Project Manager roles within three years. PwC Consulting was bought by IBM, giving her additional employee experience of mergers and acquisitions.
Systems Engineer | Electronic Data Systems | 3 years
Julie joined EDS Systems Engineer training program shortly after completing university. EDS specifically hired Julie because of her strong communication and people skills despite her having no technical education or experience. During this time Julie helped establish a help desk to support the rollout of new technology and then transitioned into an application developer, demonstrating her ability to quickly learn and apply new skills.
FORMAL TRAINING AND CERTIFICATIONS (the net)
- Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching from University of East London, UK
- Relationship Intelligence Core Strengths Certified Facilitator
- PCC – Professional Coaching Certification through International Coaching Federation (500 coaching hours + Exam)
- Workplace Mental Health Leadership Certified Leader from Queen’s University
- DISC Certified Facilitator
- Design Thinking Coach through IBM
- Grounded Leader Certified Facilitator through Healthy Companies
- Co-Active Leadership through Co-Active Training Institute (1-year program)
- CPCC – Certified Professional Co-Active Coach through Co-Active Training Institute (2-year program)
- PMI – Project Management Certification through Project Management Institute (Exam)
- BA Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington
MY CAREER GROWTH JOURNEY (the squiggly story)
My first degree is in education. At one time I dreamed of changing the landscape of education with plans to teach for a few years and then move into the administration track. If I had been really honest with myself, I wanted to radically transform everything about how we educated children to meet them where they were at and not be strapped to structures that limited both the teachers and the students from making learning fun and engaging. That desire for transforming cultures for the sake of creating more fun and engagement has never died.
My BA was obtained at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington so when I moved from NC to Michigan, I was required to complete a 6-month certification process to teach in that state. I did not relish the idea of doing anything while I waited. I am a person of action, so I began working as an admin through a temporary staffing agency. The 3-month assignment supported a director at Electronic Data Systems (EDS). At first, I showed up and just did the work. But before long I was finding myself volunteering for tasks outside the normal secretary duties and speaking up in situations that I had no business opening my mouth in as I knew next to nothing about technology or the work this team was doing. However, something interesting happened. After people lowered their eyebrows in amusement, they started listening to what I had to say.
Why? I attribute it to three reasons. One, I am big on accountability. I would sit in their meetings and listen to these executives talk and talk (and talk) and rarely do. Or a more empathetic perspective is they would do a lot of things that never seemed to be what they talked about doing. I became frustrated with all the talk and no action and simply started holding them accountable for what they said they would do. Two, I am great at consuming and synthesizing information, Three, I learned at a very early age the power of intensely observing people and how they communicate and interact with each other. For example, I easily notice when two people are talking but not communicating. Pair that with my passion for accountability and strengths of bottom lining I became a bridge to effective conversations.
This led to EDS offering to train me in a 3-Year Systems Engineer program where they essentially taught me how to be a software developer. I won’t lie to you and tell you I was good at coding (great at commenting!). But I stuck it out and enjoyed utilizing my creative strengths. I also felt energized by the impact of designing and building solutions that I knew would make others’ jobs easier.
I now had the bug of being a continuous learner and creating solutions for others which lead me to the path of becoming a consultant. I moved back to NC and became an ERP consultant with Price Waterhouse which eventually merged into IBM’s services organization. Within IBM I took advantage of taking thousands of hours of education in everything from Oracle database administration to emotional intelligence. I also had the good fortune of world-class training for Design Thinking methodologies and the opportunity to be certified as a Design Thinking Coach while working alongside masterful Design Thinking experts.
As my career prospered in management I was introduced to the skill of coaching. This eventually led to completing a 2-year training program with the Co-Active Training Institute where I obtained my Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. I continued with this organization in their 1-year Co-Active Leadership program which ultimately led me on my quest to leave my systems consulting career. With a relentless belief in anything is possible I convinced my leadership to create a full-time employee engagement program leader and put me in that role.
After establishing this program and having measurable success as shown through our employee engagement scores, I started looking for what’s my next challenge. Moving beyond employee engagement and into employee wellbeing. Through great mentorship, I enrolled in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching with the University of East London where I received marks of distinction for my dissertation on workplace wellbeing practices.
Today I continue my learning journey as I believe we are never really done learning. I also recognize how important it is to balance formal education with real-world experience and the regular consumption of new perspectives from various channels. Going back to school for more formal education someday for my doctorate is always a possibility and if I did, I suspect it would be to further quench my thirst for understanding organizational design and change, culture or leadership.
THE PERSONAL SIDE
Like many, my career has been a defining part of my life. I have always been an ambitious person who likes to be seen as achieving greatness. And there have been times when that has been at the cost of my personal life, including my health and relationships. Despite that ambition, I have had the amazing good fortune to learn from my mistakes which has ultimately helped me be a better human in so many ways.
I have been happily (ok not always rainbows and kittens but pretty darn good) married for over 20 years. I attribute most of our success to both my husband and I being good friends who respect each other’s values and passions even when they are not the same. We, fortunately, both love to travel, be active, listen to live music and watch a good movie.
Alongside our partnership as husband and wife, we have raised two amazing (of course I have to say that) young men who are now in university. I am most proud of the moments where I was vulnerable enough to tell them I was wrong and sorry for some silly/stupid parenting thing I did. And that we leaned into tough conversations together, had a lot of impromptu fun and that they are both on their way to becoming their authentic selves.
I am a dog person which doesn’t mean I dislike cats, just will likely never own one. My current dog, Zola, is a rescue from Mexico and we enjoy long walks together every day either forest bathing or beach strolling. She is our third family pet and my sixth pet over all.
I love to play volleyball though these days I am not sure how much digging I would be doing. My high school claim to fame was division champs my senior year. I still manage to snowboard a few times a year, but I have given up beating my boys down the hill several years back. I love working out until I’m fully spent so that I can eat that plate of nachos guilt-free. I have a new love for golf, which my husband is quite pleased with as it gives him more time on the course. I love to cook when I have loads of time. Host parties on the spur of a moment. Lounge around on patios with good friends and whiskey. And my ideal vacation is anything that puts me right on a beach looking out at the water so that I can easily hop on my stand-up paddleboard for an easy morning glide. With Zola.