DIRTT’s Inspirational Julie Petri Talks About How She Helps Women Build Confidence in Their Own Abilities To Achieve Their Goals

May 4, 2021

Q: What is your Habitat for Humanity History of Involvement?

A: I was involved in Habitat for Humanity’s “Christmas in April” in Seattle, WA, back in 2000. Our team was comprised of 20 architects and Interior Designers from the Architecture firm where I worked at the time. We were assigned a home in need of rehabilitation due to a long stint of disrepair, and combined with its age; the result was an unsafe dwelling. The Owner had serious health issues, including debilitating asthma; they were not in a position physically or financially to get the home to the point of being able to maintain it from a safe starting point. Prior to volunteer day, our team divided prep work, including soliciting and collecting donations and picking up all supplies. It was a very full day of work, where we organized tasks by smaller teams throughout the home starting early in the morning, completing the work at 5:00 the same day. It was hard work but incredibly fulfilling, and the best part of the day was turning over the repaired and clean home to the very emotional home Owner at the end of the day. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house!

Local Women Encouraging Each Other on the Austin Habitat for Humanity Construction Site

Q: What do you wish you had known when you started your career?

A: I wish I had understood early on that making honest mistakes along the way is okay and can even result in growth along a professional path. Don’t beat yourself up, rather learn from the mistake. Perfection is overrated. Making adjustments from mistakes gives us the chance to move forward in a better way. It keeps us all on a human level – which I believe is especially important now in this age of data technologies and artificial intelligence.

Q: How do you empower women in our community?

A: By listening, advocating, and supporting women in conversations, voting, and election processes, or social media channels. This includes initiating outreach through various networks to help promote women by making recommendations and/or introductions.

Q: What are you looking forward to doing to further empower women?

A: I look forward to continuing to encourage women in my life to build confidence in their own abilities to achieve their goals through hard work and respect for themselves, as well as sharing knowledge when helpful. I will also continue to make financial donations to several organizations that promote women’s issues like health, equity, and sustainable self-reliance.

Empowered Women Serving Their Community

Q: Do you have any last words of advice, encouragement, or hope?

A: I believe offering support and encouragement to others goes a very long way in this world, and the following quote by the Canadian based philosopher pretty much sums it up for me:

“By lighting another’s candle, you brighten your own”

  • Matshona Dhliwaya

Thank you to our Women Build Partners that help us build affordable housing!

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