Julie Pham, is the VP of Community Engagement at WTIA and winner of the Advocate award at the 2019 Champion Awards. With a background in academia she believes that being curious and learning quickly from your mistakes is the key to success.
Tell us about the professional journey that took you where you are today. What major lessons did you learn along the way?
I went from training as an academic to working at a Vietnamese newspaper to working in tech. I learned to acknowledge when I’m wrong, and as soon as possible to learn from it, to always ask questions.
What motivates you?
People’s stories–there are so many interesting people in the world
Who are your role models and why?
Jessie Woolley-Wilson and Dawn Trudeau. They have advised me it’s better to know the truth, even when it’s hard. They’ve had to carve spaces for themselves.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up around 6-630 am and lie in bed, thinking about the day ahead. I then do some “thinking” work while I have a cup of green tea and oatmeal. If I’m in the office that day, I wait to leave 1 hr before my first meeting. Then I might have lots of meetings and then go home to make dinner with a friend. Or it might be a quiet day where I work from home, doing more “thinking” work. I try to have my “extrovert” days, filled with talking to people, and my “introvert” days, when I see no one in-person. I talk to my dad or my brother each night, along with my boyfriend, via phone.
What do you wish founders knew about before meeting you? What about female founders specifically?
That my background is in academia, in history, not in business, and so I think differently than a lot of people they probably work with typically..
What are the major trends you are seeing in your space?
More tech companies want to get civically engaged.
What are you most excited about these days?
Writing my book about curiosity-based collaboration.
What do you look for in a potential investment?
That they are willing to use their personal network to sell their ideas.
What do you want others to know about the Champion Awards?
One of the things I think is really special about the Champion Awards is the community voting. I was honored to be nominated last year and I’m sure any traditional awards panel would have chosen someone else. I was surprised when some friends told me they asked their colleagues to vote for me. I couldn’t imagine people I didn’t know would vote for me. It reminded me of the power of people and connection.