Name: Julia Hogren
What she does: Development Coordinator at UnityPoint Health Foundation
How she spends her free time: I try to read and write as much as possible. Glennon Melton once said, “Reading is my inhale and writing is my exhale,” and I agree, so I try to live by that! I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, practicing yoga, watching TV, running, traveling, coffee shops, cooking, volunteering, exploring new restaurants and wine. I hope to get a dog or cat soon as well!
What she loves about her job: Communications work, for me, always needs to have positive repercussions. I’ve consistently worked at nonprofit organizations because there is a significant sense of community and commitment to reach goals. Healthcare is an arena that affects literally everyone in life, good or bad. At the UnityPoint Health Foundation, I’ve learned about so many people, patients and staff, who directly benefit from donated funds. Philanthropy helps our hospitals provide key programs and services for patients and families in Des Moines. My job as a development coordinator allows me to think of creative ways to get that message across.
High point in her career: When I worked in communications for a large church in downtown Chicago, part of my responsibilities involved email newsletter management. There was one gentleman who could no longer attend services, but absolutely loved the congregational community and spirit of the church, and so he wanted to receive email communications that contained daily devotional reflections from staff and leaders. Except these emails, for whatever reason, never went through to him. We consistently failed to figure out why he couldn’t get the darn emails! I felt so terrible, and he was so frustrated. Finally, I just decided to personally send him the email. Every single day. It only took a minute, and brought him joy, and so I did that for months. One day, he sent a letter to our head pastor that included a $1,000 donation. He said he wanted to express his gratitude for the fact that I always remembered to send him his devotion. It wasn’t part of my job, technically, to do that sort of thing–but in reality, it was indeed the point of my job: to care for others despite inconvenience.
What inspires her: I’m constantly inspired by other people. My relationships are a constant source of motivation and creative guidance, and I am so grateful for that. I’m also inspired by art, literature, fashion, faith and nature.
How she got to Des Moines: I came to Des Moines a year ago after accepting a position with the UnityPoint Health Foundation. I spent a brief period in the Quad Cities, but prior to that, worked and lived (and loved) Chicago for about 3 1/2 years.
What she wishes she knew when she started her career: Five years ago, I didn’t realize that part of building one’s career involves trying different things. Most people don’t figure out their dream job straight away; instead, it’s a process of small successes and failures that guide you toward a better understanding of how your particular strengths fit in with an industry or organization. Fortunately, I’ve always been interested in learning new skills whenever possible, but I don’t think I realized in the past how valuable that trait would become. I started picking up graphic design skills on a whim, and now it’s a substantial part of my career path.
What she wanted to be as a little girl: I wanted to be a writer, as well as a ballerina, a mom, a pianist and a singer. I read constantly, often getting into trouble in grade school for sneaking books under my desk. I also talked to anyone and everyone; according to my mother, I had a habit of inviting every guest at the door into our home, including the postman. That desire to read and connect is still with me today, but in a much more regulated way!
Dream job?: My dream job is to be a writer and a mother. Luckily, that combination comes in many forms!
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