BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
How Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, spends her free time.
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
“Every day is different — it’s never boring — and lots of good comes from the work that we do,” says Julie Harrelson, founder of the Harrelson Group, an executive consulting firm based in Portland. This past year, Harrelson, 55, launched the Cascade Angels fund, a year-round fund in Central Oregon. The fund closed this year with $460,000 and so far has invested in one company, Bend-based Droplr. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Harrelson lives in North Portland with her partner, Kasuna Duffey.
“Friends, family and colleagues describe me as ‘calm in the storm’: funny, kind, a creative thinker and good listener. To describe myself, I’d use a few of the same words, but also persistent. If there’s an opportunity, or I see an issue or problem I could help solve, I’m always confident there’s a way to figure it out. That’s why the tagline for the Harrelson Group is ‘You can get there from here.’”
“A lot of my work is with executives in Oregon, and it’s really satisfying to work with so many talented and committed leaders. This last year, one of the assignments I took on was building [the Cascade Angels fund]. Putting together a team of accredited investors with aspiring entrepreneurs and guiding that fund has been a blast. I don’t really have a career highlight to point to, but I love the fact that my work is so varied and that I get to work with such great people.”
Books and bikes
“I read a complicated mix of things: The New York Times, Wired, my Twitter feed, Sunset, Scientific American, novels by Barbara Kingsolver, Salman Rushdie, Donna Tartt. I love to ride my bike; I have a Trek Madone. I love to paddleboard — I spend quite a bit of time in Bend, so I paddleboard a lot on the Deschutes River. My job is really busy and highly interactive, so I also try to find time to reflect and take adventurous vacations.”
“I went to Iceland a few years ago, and we went on this guided white-water rafting trip. Halfway through, they invited us to jump off a 35-foot cliff. I’m afraid of heights, but I was determined, so I jumped. It was scary but also really fun. Jumping off that cliff is a lot like being an entrepreneur. All the different businesses I’ve run — the couple I’ve owned and the startups I’ve been involved with — are a little bit like that exhilaration of doing something new.”
“I think it’s important for people who lead enterprises to be civically engaged. I dedicate a fair amount of time to Metropolitan Family Service, which is a large social service agency in Portland. One of the things that really inspires me is to be involved in the community in meaningful ways. Also, diversity and change inspire me. Seeing people who lead well, who are humble but sustain great results, they inspire me greatly.”
Correction appended: The Cascade Angel Fund closed with $460,000. The original version of this article mistakenly stated the fund closed with $460 million.