Women of September 2020: Julie Fetherman

Tell us a little about yourself and who you are? I am a mother to three amazing children and a cherished feline living in Orlando, FL; an ex-wife; a girlfriend; a daughter, sister, niece, and friend. I am passionate about my career and helping others succeed in theirs. I am obsessed with meditation, fascinated by astrology, and love to make people laugh. Concerts and travel comprise 80% of my bucket list. I am a self-improvement junkie and a true sucker for any book, lotion, or supplement that holds the promise of hope for any type of transformation. I love to cook. I love all shades of fine wine. And I love being 44. Each year that passes, I learn more about who am I, and who I still want to be when I grow up.

How does a day in your life look like these days? It’s a complete juggling act – as I imagine most working parents are experiencing these days! My best days are when I am consistent with a morning routine of meditation, an Orange Theory or Camp Gladiator class sweat session, and my coveted cup of coffee. After I get the kids off to school (knock on wood, they all go back on campus beginning August 26th), I dive into work and passion projects. As you may know, we just wrapped up WCIvirtual, which stretched creative and critical thinking muscles immensely. Every Monday, I co-host a weekly meditation series with Yvonne Guibert called Mindful Mondays With Robin Nickell. We created theses weekly 30-minute sessions as a way to give back during the COVID-19 #stayathome mandate to introduce the practice and health benefits of meditation to others in our workers’ compensation community. The response was so positive, we have decided to continue the series as long as we have participants who join every week! When my meditation practice is consistent, I can handle whatever the day throws at me. When it’s not, I let chaos and interruptions dictate my day instead of finely tuning in to what my intuition is clearly trying to tell me… be more present in the moment. Afternoons consist of more Zoom calls than I can count, shuffling kids to sports and activities, and wraps up with a nice glass of wine and relaxing with the ones I love most.

What makes you unique? I’m not sure why this strikes me as such a strange question to answer about myself, but it does. I think we are conditioned to feel like accentuating our positives in conversation is essentially bragging or obnoxious. But as I settle more comfortably into my skin with each passing year, I understand years of breaking my own heart could have been avoided by thinking and speaking kinder of myself. One of my favorite sayings is, “Our hearts are who we are, and our minds are where we live.” You have to nurture both to live in harmony with yourself. So, here is my attempt at answering this one with something other than, “I grew up in Alaska.” – (which is actually true but doesn’t stretch me out of my comfort zone). I am wildly competitive and driven – especially in the workforce. I have a desire to win. Yet I am also deeply motivated to help connect other people to the ideas, tools, or individuals that move them closer to take their next steps toward a personal endeavor or professional goal. I think these two contradictory characteristics work together to create a unique aspect of my personality.

What is your “why?” What inspires you every day to do more/better? It sounds cliché, but it is my three children. I have two daughters and a son whom I am raising with my ex-husband, Shannon, and his wife, Kristie. We practice a lot of acceptance, patience, and flexibility in our co-parenting relationship to make sure we always putting our kid’s needs first. I want my children to grow into adults who are ambitious, fearless, compassionate, and curious about the world and others. I believe they learn first by example, which pushes me to do more/better each day. My daughters are one reason I wanted to become an Ambassador within the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation. Beyond networking, I want to learn from and help develop other strong leaders…and I want them to become and do the same.

Tell us about your career and how you got started? Currently, I am the Associate Executive Director of the Workers’ Compensation Institute, which hosts one of the largest national conferences in the industry every August in Orlando, FL. I started this role in November 2019 after more than 20 years’ experience in selling national ancillary and managed care services within the workers’ compensation industry. As an English and Criminology major from Florida State, I never expected to be in sales or insurance. My dream was always to be a writer or a lawyer. One month to the day after graduation, I answered an ad in the newspaper for a position as a private investigator for a regional insurance investigation company called Omega Insurance Services. I got the job and started my career conducting background checks and pre-texting claimants to compile profiles for investigator’s surveillance assignments. Nine months later, I was promoted to a sales position and have never looked back.

What are your future goals? Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to write stories and escape through fiction books. I would rather lie on my grandmother’s hammock on a sunny day with a book than do just about anything else. I want to write a book. Something non-fiction and maybe even memoirish. Not because I have led such an extraordinary life but because I have overcome some extraordinary circumstances that I know writing about will heal more of myself, and hopefully help others who have gone through similar experiences become stronger. Make better decisions. Feel like they have choices without the weight of judgment. I think we all have an invisible monster that lives under the bed, born by childhood experiences that we keep alive through fear and self-destructive behaviors. I want to write about my monster under the bed, the one that has chased me for decades, and hope it eases someone else’s self-doubt.

How do you empower other women? I hope I empower women by being authentic and vulnerable while encouraging them to do the same. Living this way, we are forced to step out of our comfort zone and give up control to create a better world together.


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