volcano scene

About Julie Benezet

Julie Benezet portrait

One constant in Julie Benezet’s life has been the love of adventure. It’s not that she is never afraid. She just can’t resist looking at things from another angle. As a child growing up in Colorado, she was a “nature girl.” She spent countless hours tracking down unusual butterflies, building tree houses (then jumping off of them), and constructing model cities in the backyard sandbox. To this day she loves to roam through compelling physical environments.

Her work and life experiences have made her a firm believer in the potential of the new, and the importance of understanding the underlying human psychology needed to achieve it.

Julie has always placed a strong value on learning. Her quest to understand other people and cultures began with her summer in France as a teenager. It influenced her later decision to transfer to Cornell University to study cross-cultural psychology and her post graduation move to live a few years in Montreal, Canada.

Trying out new ideas and creating organizations that embrace them created the frame for Julie’s life. She came by those values honestly if not inevitably. Her father was a college president who, with the invaluable political savvy provided by her mother, dedicated his life to building institutions of higher learning. Through her parents, she met extraordinary thought leaders whose single-mindedness for achieving greater things inspired her to seek her own leadership roles.

Julie on a volcano trail

After graduating from Cornell, Julie moved to Montreal with two suitcases, a box of books, and a dream of practicing psychology. That dream took a different direction after a patient grabbed ahold of her waist long hair and wrestled her to the ground. She escaped with her hair intact, but the event influenced her eventual decision to move from psychology to law. In law, she could build businesses, keep her hair, and get paid to argue.

Pursuing dreams has molded Julie’s life. As a self-described hard wired entrepreneur she spent 25 years in law and business, putting into place the dreams of others as well as her own.  Combining technical knowledge with human behavior lessons gleaned from her years in psychology, she raised capital, developed strategy and galvanized change for a wide variety of organizations. She established Amazon’s first global real estate organization and for ten years led the “Challenges of Leadership” executive program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She holds an LLB (law) and M.Sc. (psychology) from McGill University and a B.A. from Cornell University.

For the past eighteen years, she has coached and advised executives from virtually every industry. She is a sought-after speaker about leadership, change and embracing the scariness of the unknown in pursuit of better things. She shares her professional insights in print and online.

Spending half of her youth at the base of Pikes Peak left a strong imprint. Julie loves mountains for their metaphoric value of achieving greater heights and their spectacular vistas. Back at home, the most unusual thing in her desk drawer is her eighth grade diary, which is unreadable, as her handwriting is also an adventure.