Julie Park joined Cox Communications nine years ago, fresh out of college. She says her mentors Sherry Hariri, Patricia Martin and Gina Pearlman helped continue her real-life education and enable her to become the leader she is today.
“Getting different people with different perceptions and opinions marching towards one goal is a lot harder than people think,” Park says. “Leadership is about much more than having a title or authority and it’s been a rewarding experience for me.”
As an undergraduate, Park thought she’d get a degree in finance and pursue a Wall Street career. But the financial crisis of 2008 made her re-evaluate her major. She thought back to her childhood, when she put computers together for fun with her dad, an industrial engineer. The memories were the impetus to switch degrees to computer information systems.
The unexpected loss of her father two years ago gave Park a new perspective on work-life balance.
“No one knows when their last day is,” she says. “While your job matters, it should not define who you are. It’s important to take time for yourself and your family.”
Park joined Cox as a Design Engineer and was later promoted to Solutions Engineer and then her current management role. She credits her mentors for fostering a learning environment where it’s safe to learn from mistakes.
“I learned to do my best and that it’s okay to fail,” she says.
Park learned from them too how to earn and maintain trust, how to build a cohesive team, and the value of a supervisor who backs you up. She still taps her mentors as sounding boards for professional and personal endeavors. Now with her own direct reports, she enjoys the challenges of the leadership role.
She sometimes imagines herself along the continuum of women pioneers in the field and young women coming up behind her.
“The dialogue around what women can do has changed so much in the last 20 years and being a part of that history means a lot to me,” she says. “As I work through challenges, I know I’m contributing to the next generation of women.”
Note: This March, Cox is highlighting some of the notable women we work with in recognition of Women's History Month. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace is a vital business imperative at Cox — and the right thing to do to reflect the world in which we live. Visit our Corporate Responsibility site to learn more.