Most would agree that winning a NAPA advisor award once is quite an accomplishment. Incredibly, Julie Braun was named to the NAPA Young Guns, Top Advisors Under 40 list every year since its inaugural publication and twice named on NAPA’s Top Women Advisor’s list. Success of this magnitude requires unwavering passion, or so we thought. Julie believes it is her compassion that has helped her not only change people’s lives in retirement readiness, but also save lives with heart health awareness.
In 2007, Julie started her retirement advisor journey like any other advisor. However, she quickly discovered a unique ability to connect with participants, executives, and human resources contacts with a sense of compassion that helped her relate to clients in a much more effective way. When Julie’s compassionate approach was combined with the great partnership forged with her male business partner, their team was propelled to great success. It seemed as though the stars were aligned for Julie‘s career. Then came 2013.
While on vacation in Florida and pregnant with her second child, Julie became ill. Like all working mothers, she tried to downplay her illness and continue on. In the back of her mind though, she was drawing parallels to a video she had watched highlighting the warning signs of a heart attack and couldn’t shake the image of a friend who had died from a heart condition during pregnancy. She thought to herself “Could this be happening to me?” With these thoughts swimming in her head and the innocent inquiries from her toddler, Julie decided to go to the hospital for an examination. To her horror, the doctors discovered a blood clot in her heart. Fortunately, they were able to remove the blood clot and after a recovery period, Julie was feeling much better. Happily, she delivered a healthy baby several months later. Julie knew that she was one of the lucky ones.
Experiencing a life threatening event can change anyone. In Julie’s case, knowing that she may not have survived her ordeal unless she remembered an educational video, she has since been tirelessly changing the lives in her community by educating others regarding heart health awareness. She is the Co-Chair of her local “Go-Red for Women” chapter, and shares her story with the hope of helping others. Their annual luncheon hosted over 550 attendees.
Going through her near-death experience helped Julie increase her already heightened level of compassion for others, not only propelling her career even further but also causing her to have a better work-life balance. Today, she is hyper focused while in the office to execute her objectives flawlessly so when she leaves, she can be even more hyper focused on her family.
When asked “What would you like to tell other women in the industry”, Julie quickly responded, “I would like to tell other women in the industry to know that you have a voice and you should let it be heard. If confidence to speak out is an issue, join WiPN or another women’s group to gain that confidence and support through a network of others who are or have been in your same position.” Julie shared that attending the inaugural “2016 Connections” event in Boston helped her gain confidence and comradery. She encourages other women to do the same.
Julie Braun’s amazing story is an inspiration on so many levels – her outstanding professional success, her ability to balance family and career, her survival story, and her heart health advocacy – changing the lives she touches all along the way. Compassion is often overlooked in this competitive industry. Julie shows us, that without question, compassion and advocacy for others or oneself is a powerful combination, one she believes all women possess. Follow Julie’s lead and go forth to set the world on fire and Go- RED!