Batter up! It’s the bottom of the last inning and my nine-year-old son is up to bat. His team, The Emeralds, is playing in the Little League championship—and they are losing. No pressure.
My colleague, Julie Knox, is also at the game because her son plays for the opposing team, the Thunder, who just last week ended the Emerald’s undefeated season with an upset victory. It had been a devastating loss. Julie’s analysis of the game clarified where the Emeralds had fallen short. Julie clarifies a lot of things for me. It’s a defining aspect of our relationship. It’s one of her gifts: Julie smooths out difficult situations with tenacity and insight.

Fortunately, she decided to walk the path with me to roll out MalamaDoe – A Coworking Community for Women. Julie was a consultant and Malamadoe stakeholder from concept through implementation — uncovering needs, untangling competing priorities and providing processes and frameworks to move the business from concept to reality.

Julie is a tech- savvy engineer, a lean- process practitioner and change- management guru who has renewable energy, endless commitment, a can-do attitude, and an analytical, strategic mindset to transform conceptual ideas to a solid reality. Julie helped me stay true to the culture that this business is about: friends helping friends succeed. She helped create this place where we all work to grow our businesses. For that, I am eternally grateful.

There have been days when tensions were high, when I was second- guessing myself and worrying about what I had gotten myself into. Julie saw the forest for the trees, helping to help me push past roadblocks and obstacles. She was another set of eyes on the business plan, proactively researching the industry, incorporating feedback from others she had thoughtfully emailed and skillfully interviewed, and blending ongoing conversations into a cohesive business structure. And that is just a start. She keenly cut to the core as she identified challenges facing the business and helped to break down (or, as she would say, “reverse engineer”) the whole of our business into its many parts, simplifying our process to help us start a successful business that allows women professionals to lean in, support one another, launch their businesses, and pursue their professional dreams.
The day we signed the lease I was feeling stressed. My investor – Carey Vollmers – expressed relief that we finally reached this point. And there was Julie, giving me a high -five. She was the most upbeat person in the room, proud of the accomplishment and with a look in her eye that said, “I told you we’d get here.”

Now, back to that Little League championship. – The Emeralds vs. The Thunder. Right before the final inning where my son was up to bat, Julie and I bumped into each other while I was returning from the concession stand with my thirsty six-year-old. Even though we were cheering for opposing teams, how could we not stop and say hello to each other?
Fortunately, we know each other well enough finish each other’s sentences! And Julie knows were both present just to watch the game, so she waved me back to my seat in time to see my son hit the ball, make it to second base, and even score a run! Shortly thereafter, the Emeralds won.
So, if you see Julie, try and not mention the Little League championship loss, but do realize what an impact she has made on our MalamaDoe Community and thank her on your behalf. I am so blessed to have walked this path with Julie, her optimism always beside me. And we are all the better for her efforts.

Thank you, Julie, for always being next “up to bat” with me during this journey. As we continue to score home-runs here at MalamaDoe, I can proudly say that you are an “MVP” in MalamaDoe’s business plan.

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