Women Crushing Wednesday with Julia Taylor

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This week in our #WomenCrushingWednesday series, we feature Julia Taylor, CEO + Founder of GeekPack®

She is the latest woman we know who is simply CRUSHING IT! We took some time to get to know Julia, her company GeekPack, and what it means to her to be named a Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellow!

As I was searching endlessly for location-independent opportunities to work with my life as a military spouse, I discovered coding and learned as much as I could. Before I knew it, I had developed a marketable skill set as a WordPress developer. This was what I’d been looking for: career progression and being able to do something that felt meaningful, unlimited by location.

When my husband retired we decided to sell all of our things and move into an RV so we could travel the US and find our dream home. After 18 months of full-time traveling, we settled on 75 acres in the Colorado mountains which we now call home.

While we were traveling full-time, people started to ask me how I was able to travel so much and still work. I realized there were a lot of women out there who also needed a career that would give them a more flexible lifestyle.

I am passionate about empowering women+ everywhere to create better lives for themselves by harnessing the power of digital skills to start businesses and level up careers. I am constantly motivated by seeing others change their lives and take back control, just like I did. I want to help as many people as possible to make their dreams a reality by teaching them tech skills in a supportive community.

I’ll never forget… my heart was racing and I immediately started to sweat as I read the response on my computer screen – I was being made fun of for asking a ‘stupid question’ about tech.

I’m proud of being a self-taught web developer, but it wasn’t the easiest path. I learned how to code in a vacuum, using free resources, with no one to turn to for help and support. As I waded into online tech communities, dismissive and negative responses in these ‘bro-ish’ groups were not uncommon.

I was frustrated but not deterred. I kept at it, found my niche, and built a successful first business. But I never forgot that feeling. I created GeekPack so that no one else would have to feel the way that I felt. I was determined to create space and opportunities to build confidence and not just thrive in tech, but to feel like they belonged. Most importantly, to have a place to learn something new where there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Over the years, that same determination has helped me build a team, develop new products, and weather economic changes, supported by a mission and vision that I truly believe in.

One of my favorite quotes is by Simon Sinek: “A small team, committed to a cause bigger than themselves, can achieve absolutely anything.”

The GeekPack team is small, but mighty. We believe strongly in our mission and our vision. Every single team member started out as a student first. Then they were interns, supporting other students. Then they became team members, not necessarily because they have all the right skills for the job, but because they are 100% committed to our mission. I’m a firm believer that skills can be taught. I hire for personality and for passion.

Early on in my entrepreneurial journey I realized that my time and energy was being stretched too thin across all of my community members. Growth and scalability was dependent on me and my time. Through sound advice from business coaches much smarter than me, I came to understand the importance of a small but mighty team of people who could ‘pour into’ the community members, enabling me to ‘pour into’ my team.

One of our core values is Compassion for Community. We know we are nothing without our community and we show it by the deep empathy, respect, and patience we give in every interaction. The positive environment we build has an individual focus but with a family feel, cultivated by listening longer, harder, and deeper so that everyone feels heard.

GeekPack is successful because of my team and their commitment to a cause bigger than themselves.

I was an Intelligence Officer for the US Intelligence Community and deployed to Afghanistan twice (where I met my husband!)). Definitely both strange and interesting. That’s where I learned strong leadership skills, the value of team building and developed an eagle eye for detail.

You can be a successful entrepreneur and still be an introvert. Also- imposter syndrome never goes away.
But that’s okay. You surround yourself with people who will protect your time and your energy and build you up when you need to be reminded of everything you are capable of.

The achievement I’m most proud of during the last year is becoming a Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellow.

It’s true what they say – it takes a village.

While I’m recognized as an Impact Entrepreneur by Cartier, I wouldn’t have this opportunity without the unwavering support and encouragement of my team, my coaches & advisors and my thousands of students.

I may have the vision, but GeekPack exists and thrives because so many people believe in what we’re doing and the impact we’re going to have on millions of peoples’ lives.

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