Currently, I am taking a Leadership class which is a requirement for my major. Part of this class requires having a mentor that will help us learn about leadership. All the students were randomly paired with many different leaders in the Triangle area. My mentor for this program is Julie Paul. Julie Paul was the executive director for ULI-Triangle and also a part of the Leadership Triangle. Ever since the start of this program Mrs. Julie and I have became closer and meetings have been great!

I decided to interview Mrs. Julie Paul on leadership, the things she experienced, and what it takes to become a leader.

Name things that made a difference in the way you manage now. What happened? What did you learn from it?

“Management is always a progression. It’s difficult to find your style because there are different approaches. I tend to be a collaborative leader and be clear about roles. I enjoy motivating people through the process, trying to see the end and stay connected. Education and Leadership Triangle also helped my management style. I’ve learned a lot through disappointments. You learn the best type of people you work with, what you’re good at, and your strengths and weaknesses. Often time I chose people that were self-sufficient.”

What was your first managerial job? Was there anything special about it? How about your first boss?

“First managerial job was Marketing and Research Developer for Small Business and Technology Development Center. It was the first job that I had to be my own boss. My supervisor was the director and made sure everything plugged in. He was a very good boss; always wanted me to come with solutions, not problems. He gave young people responsibilities and trust. I would also say this is the first quantum leap. ”

What was the biggest challenge you ever faced?

“At the children’s museum, we did not own our location; so we were paying rent 1/3 of what we made. Constantly had to present to the City and persuade businesses to get their own location. After many presentations we established a partnership and the location of Marbles.”

What was your first important exposure to high-level executives? Have there been others that stand out for you?

“SBTDC was the first exposure and now with my current job, I am always around high-level executives. In every job I’ve gained support for business. I worked 3 major jobs, worked at 2 law firms, and the Columbia Business School. It gave me the opportunity to decide what I  like.”

What was your organizational first date, a time when you were all alone and had to take complete responsibility for something you’d never done before?

“It happens all the time! Many of the times I would “fake it til you make it!” I happened to be exposed to many different obstacles because job titles were so broad. The Board of Directors always helped out, considering they worked for majority of non-profits. I learned quickly to be accountable.”

 Most people have worked for a person we simply couldn’t tolerate for one reason or another. What did you learn from such an experience?

“I found it difficult to work with people who you couldn’t find their motivation. It’s just people you don’t trust. It also taught me to keep your head down and make sure you have supporters to have as backup and security.”

Every experience is a learning experience!

Damani Toudle

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