Faith, Work, and Calling: Julie's Story

Posted on Sep 12, 2022

Faith, Work, and Calling: Julie's Story

What happens when you accept a challenge to integrate your professional life and gifting with your personal faith? You just might discover a new sense of calling and purpose. That’s been the case for Julie Sands, architect, mentor, and creative force behind the Underestimated podcast. Julie shares more of her story, below:

I am a successful professional female who has been working in a male-dominated industry my entire career. I spent the first 15 years after graduating college navigating my own career and helping peers and friends succeed in business. I’ve acted as counselor, guide, and resource to friends on the side, in addition to my full-time job, just to be helpful, because I love my friends and peers.

Over the course of my career, I have witnessed and personally experienced gender-related subconscious biases and other “phenomena” in the workplace. My experiences working alongside men prompted me to pursue a formal education focused on Organizational Behavior. I’m fascinated with how organizations work, how people interact with organizations, and what makes businesses perform more effectively.

After learning about the “SEEDS” model as part of my organizational behavior coursework, I’ve come to realize that my experiences are not unique at all. They are just a subset of data representing what most women in the workplace experience daily, across the nation and the world.

For example, it's difficult for women, especially women in the workplace, to be perceived and evaluated as both competent and likable. Culturally, we tend to think women should be helpful, nurturing, and caring. These are positive words that describe a likable woman.

The problem is that the qualities we associate with leadership and executive position are things like decisiveness, strength, competence, and assertiveness. They're in direct contrast to the qualities of a likable woman described above. And when women exhibit these characteristics in the workplace by being strong, competent, assertive, and decisive, they are often penalized for it.

So how did I go from learning about subconscious bias in the workplace to deciding to start a podcast about women at work? In a nutshell, it was God. He literally woke me up one night and I heard His voice say, “Julie, I want you to record a podcast to encourage and empower women.” I can count on one hand the number of times God has spoken like that to me.

God was very direct, saying that I needed to record this for the ears of at least one person. I responded to Him in my spirit with, “OK, Lord, I will do it for her.” Then the Lord replied, “I didn’t say it was a ‘her,’ Julie.”

I just love that. I had assumed that whatever the Spirit puts on my heart and whatever I have to share is for women. And the Lord challenged me to think bigger—not to be so quick to stereotype, and not to assume that it is a female who needs to hear my voice.

I knew this would be way out of my comfort zone, but after I made the agreement with God that I would record the podcast, I heard Ryan Leak’s sermon about how God uses the “unqualified” which reinforced my commitment. And I can see how God has been asking me to take baby steps toward this assignment for a long time.

I have had a passion for understanding and taking control of what we know about subconscious biases my entire life, when you get down to it. I just didn’t have a name to call it. My new life mission is to inspire, motivate, and encourage other women to take their careers to new heights through a better understanding of current social science and neuroscience studies, specifically focused on bias.

My faith has changed through this process. It's grown. I hadn't seen where my professional life and my personal life meshed together, up until this point. This is what paved the way for me with God, for Him to show me what my calling and my purpose and my passion is.

This is where I am. God has me on a unique path right now, and I’m just trying to be obedient. I have no idea what He will ask me to do next, I am just hopeful, and prayerful that I can remain an obedient servant.

For more on how to integrate faith and work, check out our series Thank God It's Monday here.

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