For the past few years there’s been a name floating around my social and professional circles. People talk about this person often, and yet, we’d never met.
When I’d mention that we had never been introduced, I was usually met with disbelief: “How is that possible? You two HAVE GOT to meet. You will love her!”
And, after a while it got old. I mean, really? Can she actually be that amazing? Surely she wouldn’t live up to the hype.
But she did, of course. If I know one thing, it’s that Julie Gaver lives up to the hype. This lady is a dynamo of energy and wisdom and goodness. (She is quite sickening, actually, in the very best way possible.)
Julie’s a published author and a sought-out motivational speaker, and she’s delighted the hearts of many through her various philanthropic and community projects. The first time I heard her speak, I immediately knew we were kindred spirits.
Julie Gaver has to be a Pursuit Girl Crush. It’s a given.
Girl Crush: Julie Gaver
Tell us a little about your life and career…
I married my high school sweetheart, Dan, and we’ve been together for 42 years (37 of them as a married couple). We have lived in the same house for 35 years. Next year I am celebrating 20 years of having my own business. When I see a good thing, I know it.
We have two grown sons. Craig is 33 and is an attorney living in D.C., and Kevin is 30 and works for Under Armour in Baltimore. I have all the free legal advice and athletic wear I could ever hope for.
My training and development business focuses on helping organizations improve employee engagement and workplace culture. I conduct seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics including leadership, attitude, humor and stress, and team-building … to name a few. People often refer to me as a motivational speaker, which makes me laugh because I always picture Saturday Night Live and Chris Farley’s “…LIVING in a VAN down BY THE RIVER!!!” skit.
Someone once referred to me as a “Corporate Pastor.” Much of what I promote is trust, respect, civility, and the Golden Rule in the business environment so I guess that fits. Speaking is my passion—the line between work and play is very blurred!
Who have been your biggest role models? Why?
My father-in-law passed away a few years ago and was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known. He was not an educated man, but was a learned man. He had a curiosity about him that was almost child-like. He was fascinated with people’s point of view, how something worked, or how it was made. He taught himself how to do so many things, even very late in life. I miss him every day.
My husband is also my role model. Watching him navigate life with Parkinson’s disease with such grace and dignity helps me to put things into perspective. He makes me want to be a better person.
I love the energy that comes with being on the speaking circuit. Paul Simon may know “50 ways to leave your lover,” but I probably know 50 ways to prepare chicken because that’s what is served at every speaking engagement I attend. 🙂
I love being a solo-preneur! I love the freedom of having an idea and not needing approval, but just the time and resources to make it happen. I have such a long list of ideas to add to my brand’s product line.
The downside of working alone is not having a company Christmas party and getting to wear that ugly sweater. Every year I say I am going to throw a holiday party for people who work alone. Perhaps this will be the year and that will cure me of the desire!
What has brought you or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?
I’ve always told younger women that you really can have it all … just not at the same time. I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t start working on my master’s degree until I was well in my 40s and my children had left for college. I’m proud that I had the courage to walk away from a traditional 9-to-5 job when they were in middle school, and created a business that allowed me the freedom to be the kind of parent I wanted to be.
I find great fulfillment in creating fun opportunities for people to give back. My garden party charity event allows me to combine my love of gardening with an avenue to provide shoes for children in need. A few years back I created an event called “Let’s Talk about Sex.” It was hilariously fun and I hope to bring it back again in the near future. The monies from that event benefitted Heartly House.
There are times I feel extremely introverted.
Name one thing on your bucket list.
Only one??? There are so many… Take art classes, photography classes, learn to play my piano, read every Jane Austen book, go to France…
When/where do you get your best ideas?
At 4 AM in the morning! Lord help me! Not by choice, but I wake up most mornings at 4 AM. I have a stack of devotional and other inspirational books, paper, and pen by a table that overlooks my gardens. Some mornings so many thoughts tumble out of my head that I can hardly capture them all. Other mornings I read until dawn and then just stare out the window at my gardens, feeling such a sense of peace and gratitude. And, other mornings I think, “DAMMIT, IT’S 4 AM! HOW AM I GOING TO FUNCTION TODAY?” It all evens out. 🙂
Pepsi. Flowers. Books (real ones!). Don’t make me choose.
Oddest thing in your purse right now?
A jar of paint.
Current fashion/beauty obsession?
I’m obsessed with vintage statement jewelry.
Favorite thing to do in Frederick County?
Take an afternoon off, hit all the cool shops downtown and meet a friend for lunch. There are so many choices!