Do Consistently Blog

The Building of a Passion

As I write this blog on the eve of launching the Five Ones website (for all of you who are reading this blog in November 2019), I wanted to add something personal. Of course, this entire site is personal, but this is my way of showing you, friends, family, and colleagues that I mean business when I say I love marketing. I hope that’s apparent when you work with me, but it’s always fun to get a glimpse into someone’s history and how they came to practice their life’s passion. The quote by Marie Forleo in the image above sums up how I think I got here – I never stop learning or doing and that translates into my every day work and love for elevating my client’s messages.

Young Julia sitting at her father's desk, ready to work.

Me sitting at my dad’s desk circa 1982 or 1983. (I seriously think my parents still have that stapler!) My Dad took a picture of me when I was even younger reading the Wall Street Journal. Obviously I couldn’t read, but it shows that my parents led by example with their work ethic and love for business and client relationships.


Julia playing in the basement

One of the many pretend businesses I started in my basement growing up – I think this was either “hotel” or “bank.” But for many, many years prior, I ran a “Kid’s Giant Supermarket” in our basement and collected used cans and packages from everyone I knew. I made coupons and signage, really anything to market to my pretend customers that it was a great place to shop.


Julia's first business card

I suppose one of the reasons my career started in sales was that I knew how to sell myself, my expertise, and wasn’t afraid to hustle. This was just one of my earliest business cards.


My partner and I, Sara Pittelkau, in 1999 after we won second place in the national DECA competition in Orlando, FL. Our project was a marketing plan for Iridium, LLC, a fledgling satellite phone company. My parents just threw away the poster that we used in our presentation a year or so ago and I was a little sentimental about it.


Here’s another project I did in marketing class in High School. I tried my hand at some storyboarding, copywriting and creative concepting.


Cherry Blossom String Quartet

I could never fathom that I would enter college, connect with fellow musicians, and turn our passion into a business. When I entered the picture at age 18, the Cherry Blossom String Quartet had been gigging for a couple of years around DC. But, I was determined to help jumpstart our marketing, and in a matter of just a few years, we were playing nearly 100 gigs a year (on top of full-time school and jobs). I helped spearhead logo design, collateral, marketing efforts, client relations, and the website, to name a few. CBSQ is alive and well today, although I cut back on playing once I started a family.


AOL Mailer designs

Some of my direct mail concepts that we tested at AOL back when they had just hit 30 million users and they were advertising “1,000 hours free” on dial-up, circa 2001. It was a great internship. I’m pretty sure the panda concept went to production and had a nice lift for acquisition, but I can’t find any of the reports to prove it.


My junior year of college I decided that I wanted to major in both marketing and entrepreneurship. I had to author my own entrepreneurship major, as GWU offered many classes, but not a major (yet). One of my most favorite classes, with a professor that became my client some 10+ years later, introduced me to Boveda. Me and my classmate/group partner helped her set up the business on eBay in 2002. We wrote a whole plan, which she actually implemented. In class, we all competed for the best presentation of our semester’s work with our local business, and out of a very competitive group of 20 students, we won!


A picture from my final Delta Sigma Pi (professional business fraternity) meeting right before graduation. I met great friends, but we were always focused on being the best in business practice, too. I was SVP, in charge of recruitment, aka marketing the fraternity. Big surprise, huh? This photo was taken with a promotional disposable camera which makes me chuckle. Circa 2003, many years before the iPhone.


A few years before I became President of the American Marketing Association at GWU, I attended a career workshop. There, I met Ron Owens of LMO, who shared the WBJ Book of Lists with us, and said if we wanted to work in advertising, we were going to have to work for it. You can see my notes as I reached out many agencies for an internship. And then I met Martha Wilcox at Williams Whittle. She took me under her wing and the rest is history. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor or friend.


Martha and I celebrating our Gold Effie win in NYC. Martha, the optimist, thought there was no chance we would win anything. Me, the eternal pessimist, thought we would surely win Gold. And we did just that. One of our finest professional nights.


Five Ones comes from our son’s birthday: 1/11/11. This is a throwback to when he was our only child. Chris and I were just beginning to understand we had a new purpose in life.


Anna at my desk

When I became a mom, I tried to strike a balance between work and family, so this was a rare weekend at the office after I became President of the agency. I thought it would be fun to recreate the photo of myself when I was young with my daughter Anna.

This last photo almost catches up to the present. I left my previous job two years ago, after 12 years, to jumpstart Five Ones. Be a boss and call the shots. And have another baby while I was at it. Head over here to this page to see a current photo. And come back to our website periodically to see where life takes us.