Julie is a passionate and experienced financial professional dedicated to helping women launch and manage financially sound companies. She believes that women's creative and collaborative approach makes them uniquely suited to mentor, guide, and lead. When women-owned businesses grow, so do their voices, influence, and communities. Julie has over twenty-five years of financial management experience inside major corporations working with marketing, manufacturing, and supply chain teams. She has learned first-hand the pitfalls of corporate greed and brings a holistic view of business success to her clients. Julie is the founder of Watch Her Grow, a company providing expert financial services to women-owned businesses.
Who is Julie?
I am the founder of Watch Her Grow, a holistic financial services provider focusing on women entrepreneurs and small business owners. People often think of financial professionals as purely logical and analytical individuals who lead from the brain. I am more like a pomegranate: lots of seeds combined to form the whole. For me, writing a blog post is just as sweet as creating a long-term financial plan. Operating a successful business takes more than good math skills. It requires creativity, adaptability, curiosity, intuition, and a deep capacity to listen.
During my long corporate career, I witnessed first-hand the pitfalls of investor-ownership and models of endless growth. I saw the challenges women face in having their skills valued and their voices heard. I launched Watch Her Grow to help women entrepreneurs and small business owners face these challenges. I live outside Chicago with my dog, Cooper, and visit with my two adult sons regularly. When I’m not working, I like to create messes in the kitchen, ride my bike on nature trails, or find my breath in a downward-facing dog yoga pose.
What do you do for your clients?
I’m a financial therapist. Inviting someone into your financial world can be a vulnerable undertaking. Financial challenges are often exacerbated by individual behaviors or practices. That is true for all of us. Some of us are savers, and some of us are spenders. Some of us see the big picture, and some of us focus on the details. I work to create simple processes to balance those behaviors in a supportive way that allows business owners to choose what works best for them.
I collaborate with owners to create business and financial plans, develop strategies, and manage risk. Leveraging software, I simplify bookkeeping and reporting and provide insight into financial results so that business owners can make good day-to-day decisions. I take some of the weight off of your shoulders and reduce the financial stress of launching and owning a business.
What is the meaning behind the name “Watch Her Grow?”
Traditional corporate business models reflect a masculine worldview with a primary focus on profit at the expense of everything else. At Watch Her Grow, we intentionally embody the feminine and believe in a holistic view of success. Our mission is to elevate the voices and influence of women. We support both the personal growth of women and the financial growth of their companies. When women grow as individuals, their businesses grow as well.
Our tree logo was hand-drawn by a high-school art student and given digital form by an independent designer and mother. It embodies the collaboration of women and the need for both a firm foundation and the space to grow. The deep roots represent the support needed to grow. The outward-reaching branches signify the growth that occurs when given freedom and space.
Tell me more about the masculine worldview? Why does it need to change?
There is nothing wrong with the masculine. Feminine and masculine energies exist in all of us, and we need both. I’ve overused both energies at different times in my life. The key is to recognize when we’re out of balance and make adjustments. There is a natural ebb and flow that happens - if we allow it.
In the United States, the majority of our business structures are driven by the masculine. We follow practices of hierarchy, competition, ownership, and dominion. Many entities and individuals have lost sight of the feminine energy that is needed for creation, flow, and community. We’ve forgotten that the goal of masculine energy is to foster the feminine… not to deplete, own, and control her. Both women and men benefit from rebalancing these energies and reshaping our structures.
Can you give an example of over-used masculine energy in the business world today? How can Watch Her Grow influence change?
The most obvious example of over-used masculine energy is the power of the purse. In the United States, our laws and tax code serve the interests of entities and investors with massive wealth. Corporations pay almost no income tax, and banks are largely deregulated. Wealthy investors pay a lower tax rate on investment income than workers pay on their wages. Decisions about protecting the environment or improving wages of lower-paid workers are made based on financial returns for those who hold the purse and not the health and wellness of people and the earth. Many of the people who suffer from the economic disadvantages are women and people of color. Single mothers are disproportionally impacted.
Watch Her Grow helps women establish agency over their lives and generate their own wealth. Owning a business gives women a creative outlet, the ability to lead and make decisions, the opportunity to balance family and work, the ability to pay themselves a fair wage, and the ability to create collaborative environments.
When women own successful businesses, we can create structures, childcare arrangements, and schedules that truly benefit women. We can hire other women and seek services from other women-owned businesses. Instead of hierarchical structures, we can refocus on collaboration and creative flow. We can help restore balance.
On a larger level, Watch Her Grow supports organizations that push for policies that benefit women, including extended paid family leave after the birth of a child, low-cost and quality childcare, ethical and fair wages for part-time employees, and affordable healthcare coverage for gig employees and single mothers.
What are your qualifications?
From a technical perspective, I have a degree in accounting, and I passed the Certified Public Accountant exam. I spent over 25 years working inside large corporations, and I’ve had roles in manufacturing, strategy, marketing, and financial planning groups. The success of a business is determined by day-to-day decisions, contingency plans, balancing risks and opportunities, and knowing when to invest in growth and when to exit. I’ve lived all of it: corporate restructurings, new product launches, plant closures, etc.
From a holistic perspective, I intentionally bring the feminine into Watch Her Grow and my daily life. The feminine is represented by embodiment, and there is no better way to get into your body than through movement. I went through yoga teacher training several years ago and used the practices of asana and breath work to keep myself grounded in all aspects of my life.
I’m divorced with two grown sons and know first-hand the juggling act women face trying to balance career and family. I’ve job-shared and worked both part and full-time positions prior to launching Watch Her Grow. I’ve commuted 2 ½ hours to and from work and still fed my kids and helped with homework. Women in business are exhausted and in desperate need of support. Who better to help you on our path than someone who has lived it?
What tips do you offer women in business, or women considering launching a business?
Celebrate Your “Knowing.” Many of my clients say, “I’m not good at finances,” or “I’m not good at math.” Usually, what they really mean is that they don’t have a lot of business terminology in their vocabulary, which comes from the masculine. The intuitive flow of running a business comes from the feminine. Don’t discount what you know just because it doesn’t fit someone else’s framework. Speak your own language.
Find Your People. There are lots of organizations supporting women in businesses. In Chicago, we have Femmebought and The Small Project, among others. If you’re hanging out with people who undermine or sabotage your success, move on.
Support Other Women. The lack of perceived opportunities for women creates competition. Support like-minded women whenever you can, even if they are a competitor. At Watch Her Grow, we spotlight other female-owned companies on social media and share the stories of women on our blog.
Practice Feeding the Feminine. Creativity needs restoration to get the juices flowing. Do whatever you can to keep refilling your cup: close your eyes for ten minutes; place your hands on your abdomen and breathe in and out from your belly; go outside and look up toward the sky. Small moments of turning inward restore flow and intuition.
Trust Yourself. Many clients come to me with a stack of self-help books and expensive subscriptions that promise more customers and more money. Practice discernment with what you really need and how you want to serve the world. The world needs your intuition and your voice to come forward.
Find Business Partners You Trust. Two of my recent clients mentioned that their prior accountant brought them to tears. When you decide to look outside yourself for help with finances, marketing, sales, etc, remember that it’s a bit like finding a therapist. You want someone who sees you, supports you, and shares in your mission and values.
Who should hire you?
Most of my clients communicate that they feel a huge sense of relief once their financial records are in order, and they have visibility into their results and their path forward. The stress of putting off a problem is often worse than the problem itself. If you are thinking about launching your own company or need financial help with your existing company, you can find us at https://watchhergrow.com/.