Finding friends and philanthropy in a new city.
Julie Allard started calling Pittsburgh home almost three years ago when she was recruited by local marketing communications firm Gatesman to head up their creative department. For 2 ½ years Julie was the Executive Creative Director overseeing the firm’s TV and video, digital, web and social and other creative services. Currently she is an independent contractor and founder of Pod Creative Collective© which is a scalable model to bring creative and strategic minds together on projects in the advertising and marketing space. Julie is originally from a small town in Maryland but spent twenty years in New York City growing her career as an advertising executive. While traveling on client business, Julie came to Pittsburgh and fell in love with the city. She made the leap in late 2018 when a job offer came her way. “What I expected was a Steel City, but what I found was a robust tech industry, world-class healthcare, amazing universities, a real food scene, and culture. I was excited to call it home,” says Julie. “I also love the sense of community, the sense of pride, and the value placed on knowing your neighbors.”
United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council became a place for Julie to become more connected to the region. With her support system back in New York, Julie was looking for new connections. WLC provided a like-minded cadre of professional women that has helped make the transition easier. It has also opened the door to become actively engaged in Pittsburgh philanthropy. “I was missing opportunities to make a difference, to listen to different voices, to know what’s going on and see if there’s a way that I can positively impact the community. It seemed like a perfect fit for all the things I was looking for,” says Julie.
Julie joined WLC just shortly before the pandemic started and while she hasn’t been able to meet in person, she has enjoyed the conversations. “It’s exciting to have women from diverse backgrounds talk about what the need is, why it came about, and what we can do. I think problem-solving is at the root of what United Way is about and it’s incredibly valuable.”
Julie also recognizes that female unity is even more important right now. “Due to COVID there is a lot on everybody’s plate, especially as a woman, and as a parent. Social interaction with other women is a special outlet to take a moment and collectively breathe.” WLC events have continued via web conference over the past 12 months keeping connections alive and the momentum for support in our communities.
Julie’s best piece of advice so far is, “Just get involved. When I look at my schedule. There’s not a ton of time. I worried if I’d have enough time to make a difference. And it was a resounding yes. The virtual events right now make it so easy to jump right in.” Julie was a co-leader for one of those events, “Personal Branding and How to Amplify Your Personal Brand.” And recently supported the Utensil Drive for the Butler Health System Food Institute with marketing efforts.
If you run into Julie, be sure to ask about her extended family. Julie is the proud parent of 1 bearded dragon, 2 dogs, 1 cat, numerous birds, two lovely children and her husband who all live in Mars. WLC welcomes Julie to the fold and reminds us to think about other newcomers to the region who might find that WLC is just the right place at the right time.
To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at firstname.lastname@example.org in Allegheny County or Terri Dominick at Terri.Dominick@unitedwayswpa.org in Westmoreland & Fayette County or Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher at email@example.com in Butler & Armstrong County.