What or Who is your biggest inspiration? I think for most of us – we have several as we get older.

My inspirational “people” are all WOMEN. My grandmother, Virginia Ghent, was a beauty in her own right. A single mom (dad left when my mom was 3); she was a survivor and much due to the help of her sister and family, she raised my mom and her brother on her own. She was assistant to the president at Colorado Women’s College. She was a beauty! I would go see her in the summer and try on her amazing evening gowns. She was an icon with her cocktail trays, mad-men type furnishings and those dresses! Her shoes…. oh, the shoes!! Her shoe size was 5.5, and it wasn’t long before I could only admire them up close, but not wear them with my size 8…. She wrote the name of the shoe on each box, date purchased, color, and often where she wore the beauties. WOW! What a legacy. She dressed well because it made her feel confident and important. She took pride in the way she presented herself; always poised, clean and classy. Thank you, Ranny.

Her daughter, my Mom, is my second inspiration. She worked her ass off basically my whole life. She advocated for veterans and homeless, people who didn’t have what we had – and honestly, that wasn’t much. I grew up in her offices, listening to her customer service, her care, her hope for the hopeless. I learned how to talk to people, treat people, and put on a happy face, even when you may not be the happiest at the moment. She had a close body of friends and she lived her passion which was helping people. While she was in politics as the field working Manager of the 8th Congressional District of NC, she was the face of the CongressMAN – who BTW was an amazing man, who very much believed in equal rights.

I always knew I wanted to work with people. I was fearful of politics as a young twenty-something in the John Edwards saga… it all turned me off. I leaned toward corporate America, growing, learning from people I admired in the workplace, and learning from the assholes that often dominated that same workplace. I learned how to help people in the area of Human Resources. Being a glass half-full person, it wasn’t until recently after 25+ years in HR that I realized people HATE HR. It’s so funny, because whether I was or was not hated, I never felt it. I have always led with my heart. Yes, employee relations can be hard, but my success comes from being able to put myself in other’s shoes. Heck, I’ve been in their shoes when corporations buy corporations and people change people.

There is a reason why I am the way I am. No, I am not perfect and yes, I have bad days, but I am doing what I LOVE to do – help people, help companies, help teams WIN in the PEOPLE space of work. I know that is a lot of a lot, but it’s in my genes. ????

Julie Shaw