In honor of National Women's Month we wanted to honor a very important woman in our lives, Julie Ladd! It is very hard for me to not talk all about her magic right now but keep reading so you can hear it for yourself!
I am so thrilled to have the privilege of interviewing such a strong, hardworking, and compassionate woman to end National Women's Month! Julie is the director of Full Circle Medical Center for Women right here in Athens, Tn, which the home of the OneLife program! Julie is the best representation of women supporting women because she fights for women and their families everyday of her life. She fights fiercely for truth for women, can't get through a staff meeting without crying (sometimes sad tears, sometimes happy tears, we don't judge), and is the perfect combination of challenger and friend.
Alright, she doesn't need my words to make her look good, because as you can see from the picture above with her adorable daughter Scarlett, she looks mighty fine on her own ;)
Let's dive into the interview:
What does girl power mean to you?
Girl power to me means embracing who you are as a woman and who you were created to be. Nobody can take that from me or you. We’re created with hormones that cause us to be emotionally tender so that we can uniquely have compassion for our friends and what they’re going through. We are created to be strong so we can help hold others up, yet we can be soft and cry with them when needed. And can we just talk about how we can literally, naturally, GROW ANOTHER HUMAN inside our bodies?? We give birth to that human, and we sustain and nourish that human, again with our own bodies through breastmilk. I mean, we’re awesome. GIRL.POWER.
Have you ever noticed someone look down on you, because you are a woman, how did you overcome that?
You know, I haven’t had anyone look down on me because I was a woman. However, I have been treated inappropriately by a male coworker. When I was 19, I worked for a software company. My desk had been moved to an area outside all the offices, so it was mostly private. There was an arrogant, flirtatious male sales rep who was only the in office from time to time. When he was there, he’d come lean over me as if he was “working” on something on my computer. He would email me questionable content from his office across the hall and sometimes when he was out of the office. I mentioned one day casually to a coworker that I thought he was “a little creepy”. The co-worker asked me to explain what I meant and was alarmed by some of the things I told him. He reported it to my boss, who handled it immediately. When my boss asked why I didn’t report it, I said “I didn’t want to get him in trouble”.
*INTERVIEWER'S NOTE: READ THIS NEXT PART OF THE INTERVIEW AND TAKE IT TO HEART, then read it again... and again! That is all, byeee :)*
MORAL OF THE STORY: If he’s making you uncomfortable in any way, TELL SOMEBODY and GET HIM IN TROUBLE. Let your supervisor or your trusted adult decide how it needs to be handled, but don’t ever keep it to yourself. You deserve to be treated with dignity, honor, and respect. Period.
I gotta give props to all the honorable men that I’ve worked with over the years who treated me as a lady but also their equal peer. Can’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bushel ;)
What is your motivation for accomplishing your goals?
First and foremost, my allegiance to Christ, who died for me and washed away my sins. I owe everything to him, and I’ve dedicated my life to fulfilling His calling on my life and telling others about His great love.
Secondly, my kids and the next generation of humans who will inhabit this world. I want to do everything in my power to build them up and teach them how to navigate the craziness around them. And every chance I get, I’ll do what I can to change the world and make it better for them!
Who is a woman in your life that inspires you to accomplish your goals?
Well, I mean, my momma, of course! She has put up with a lot from me over the years, and her patience and persistence in prayer is why I am where I am today. I also have SO MANY inspirational women in my family who have inspired me to be all I can be, including a great-grandmother who had polio yet still accomplished becoming a schoolteacher, a gifted writer, an awesome wife, and mother to three wild boys! Many women at my church have encouraged me along the way. And a BIG SHOUT OUT to all the lovelies at Full Circle, the greatest staff and friends in the whole world!!!
Who is a man in your life that inspires you to accomplish your goals?
My hottie of a husband!!! If you want to know a secret, we actually reach my goals together. Does that sound strange? What I mean is that we’ve grown so close over the years that I’m not sure how I would do anything without his voice of encouragement and reason, and let’s face it, reality. Marriage to him is so great. He’s my biggest cheerleader, and I am his.
What do you do on days where you feel discouraged?
When I feel discouraged, I really have to fight the urge to shut down completely. I’d like to tell you that I immediately get out my Bible and pray or call a friend to talk or exercise, but reality is discouragement is my nemesis. My newfound coping mechanism is “resetting”. So instead of totally shutting down, I try to treat myself with something like a long bath with essential oils or a manicure or if I can, a massage. I use that time to reset and then I spend time with Jesus. It’s usually not long before I’m ready to get back in the game, put my head down, and grind it out.
And sometimes, I cry a little (Interviewer's note: we all do Jules, it ain't no thang)
I know you are a 7 on the enneagram, how has that helped you and hurt you when it comes to being a leader? (For those of you who don't know the enneagram is a personality test and 7's are known for being super fun, optimistic, and spontaneous. However they can also suppress their emotions or be impulsive.)
I’ve learned a lot about leading as a 7. When I first came into leadership, my positivity and optimism helped me see the potential in growing the organization. I am also a bit of a visionary, and I had a vision for Full Circle that was big and, frankly, scary to the Board of Directors that I served under. They kept using phrases like “reign her in”, but I just couldn’t see anything but success on the horizon. I believed that God had given me this vision and I was going for it, without even considering the possibility of failure. Full Circle has definitely grown into what God showed me that it could be and that it needed to be. However, I’ve also learned that not everyone is a 7, and that is a good thing! I’ve learned that it’s good to listen to wise counsel and that not every good thing is a God thing. I’ve learned that it takes all the numbers on the enneagram to make the world and an organization go round.
Being a 7 hurts me in leadership because when under stress I become an unhealthy 1 (A 1 is most known for being a perfectionist). I have to really keep this in check around the times when we have events to plan or when things get busy. I used to be bad about overstepping and doing everyone else’s job. I now try really hard to funnel that 1 energy into things like rearranging office furniture or file organization instead of micromanaging my staff.
What is a piece of advice you would give your high school self?
Hey, High School Self!!! Stop caring so much about what other people think and just be YOU. Those people that you’re trying to impress? They’re not that great. In a few years, you won’t even be in contact with them anymore at all. Stop compromising your beliefs to be liked. Set boundaries and stick to them. Stop being someone you’re not, stand up for what you believe in, and don’t be ashamed of your faith. And for the love of all that is holy, stop wasting time and emotions on meaningless dead-end relationships.
What is your favorite goal you have accomplished?
Graduating college, choosing life for my oldest son, and choosing to heal from my past abortion are my favorite goals I’ve accomplished.
While I was in college, my dad was battling a drug addiction. He was losing the battle. I wanted to leave our home and I wanted to find my way in a new city with new faces and new adventures. I left Athens with no intentions of ever coming back.
When I was 20, I was failing college (my major was computer science, like what was I even doing), my parents divorced, AND I found out I was pregnant. I had been dating a guy off and on, and it was so dysfunctional. We had broken up, and he had pretty much ghosted me for several weeks. All this led to me choosing to have an abortion.
After I had the abortion, my world fell apart. I plunged into depression, battled panic attacks, and turned to every kind of toxic self-deprecating behavior you can imagine. At one point, the emotional pain was so much that I contemplated a suicide attempt. For almost 6 years, I worked behind closed doors to overcome this secret that held me captive.
About 5 years after the abortion, I decided it was time to pick up the pieces of my life and get myself together. I went back to college and finished my degree. I had ruined my GPA so badly those first few years of college that I had to have mostly A’s to be able to graduate. I worked harder than I ever had worked on anything before. I graduated in December of 2007, and that’s one of my greatest accomplishments.
I also found out I was pregnant again that same month.
I knew what I had been through with my first abortion, but my relationship this time was even more complicated than in my first pregnancy. I had a friend take me to a clinic just like Full Circle. They provided me with free medical care, so much compassion, and they guided me to healing from my past abortion through a faith-based support group. I gave birth to Tucker, my oldest son, in July of 2008. Choosing life for him and finding freedom from my past are my next greatest accomplishments.
A friend once told me that God never wastes our pain. That’s so true. All that I went through has equipped me to understand and help women who come into Full Circle. He didn’t waste a bit of it.
What is one goal you are working on accomplishing right now?
I’m thinking about writing a book, but I haven’t gotten a real clear vision for it yet. I also am looking into inspirational speaking. So stay tuned ;)
Hey, if you just finished reading this and you are in dire need of a Kleenex, it's ok, me too. Julie is such a powerhouse and it is an absolute honor to know her and I am so glad y'all now know her too!!