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Julia Friedman

Communications Manager at Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Best career advice you ever got?

I had a manager tell me that my career is “what you make of it.” This may sound like an oversimplification, but it is one of the truest pieces of wisdom I’ve ever been imparted. I choose to not just show up, clock in and clock out each day, but to come in every day with a fresh mind, new ideas, a hunger to learn and grow and an excitement for continued improvement and growth.

Favorite thing about your job?

Second only to the privilege of working for an organization with a noble mission to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout the world, is our spectacular Communications team! We support one another, work hard and share laughter each and every day. Moreover, we are grateful to have a President and CEO who values communications and supports our desire to learn and grow our function within the organization to support the mission.

If you weren’t doing this, what job would you have?

I have a Masters Degree in Social Work. If I were not working in philanthropy communications, I would be leading individual, group and family therapy sessions for people who have experienced trauma.

What’s something work-related that keeps you up at night?

Only one thing??…If I had to pick just one thing, it would be the fear that our communications strategy is not achieving impact. It is very important to me that the work we come to do every day is helping to advance our mission. This is a daily directive that I expect will continue as long as I do!

Most memorable Communications Network experience?

My most memorable ComNet experience, hands down, was meeting Clarence B. Jones. I was so taken by his energy, his way with words, his spirit, that we invited him to speak at our annual Hilton Humanitarian Symposium and Prize Ceremony in 2017, where he delivered a mind blowing speech and sang a breathtaking rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”

Your most overused word or phrase?

My high school english teacher was strongly opposed to the usage of cliches and overused idioms, which became ingrained in me, so I have tried hard not to lean on the same set of words, but I often use “leverage,” “substance” and “context” and “dive deeper.”

Best thing you’ve read/watched/listened to recently?

I have been watching Downton Abbey, starting with the first season (better late than never!). I have always been fascinated by the dynamics of the class system in the UK, which is as present now as it was 100 years ago. It may look differently today, but the divides remain.

Guilty pleasure?

The Bachelor! I have been a fan for years!

How do you define success?

To me, success is a feeling of deep satisfaction that the work I am doing is effective and impactful.

Most important thing you’ve learned in the last five years?

To slow down and take in every moment and experience the present. As a mother of three, this is something I must constantly remind myself of. One of my children’s teachers once said “We often wonder what our child will grow up to be, that we forget they are someone today.” Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination.

What are you most interested in learning from your colleagues in The Network — and what could folks learn from you?

I am grateful to have a tremendous community of so esteemed colleagues to talk through the opportunities and challenges we face each day. I hope I can also share learnings from our own challenges that will help others in similar situations.

How has The Network been helpful to your work/your career? And why?

The relationships I’ve developed through The Communications Network have resulted in opportunities to explore and develop new approaches and strategies of our work, sharing of best practices, establishing close partnerships with consultants, and most importantly, new friendships.


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