Reign FC Legend: Julie Averill

The Legends campaign, a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Avanade, honors women for their extraordinary contributions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Prior to the match against the Washington Spirit this Saturday, the club will recognize REI Chief Information Officer (CIO) Julie Averill.

“Seattle is a great place to build a career, a family, and have an amazing life,” said Averill. “This campaign celebrates diversity of women who have done that, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Averill is one of the only female CIO’s in the United States, finding success in a field in which women are often outnumbered. As a result, growing up Averill didn’t have many role models to look up to in STEM. This meant that despite her passion for technology, her future wasn’t completely clear.

“Curiously, it took me several years to decide on a computer science undergraduate degree,” said Averill. “I didn’t see any female role models who were computer scientists and did things I could imagine myself doing.”

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Now as one of those role models she didn’t have, Averill in part credits her father for getting her started in technology. Growing up around computers, technology was always the focus for Averill.

“My dad was into computers from very early on and we had computers in the house,” said Averill. “When I was in my early teens he would pay me to train his customers on how to use the computers. I never knew he was encouraging me to “go into STEM” — he didn’t think about it that way. He just thought they were fun to figure out and liked to challenge me.”

Outside of her work with REI, Averill works to make technology careers accessible for everyone through her non-profit work with STEM programs. Averill is also committed to education, previously working as an adjunct professor at Seattle University in the Masters of Software Engineering program. For Averill, it mirrors the beginning of her impressive career in technology.

“One day I called a company in Federal Way that was training local businesses on desktop computing,” said Averill. “I marketed myself as a Lotus 1–2–3 expert and, at 17, found myself designing and leading classroom training for businesses. I never really made a decision to be in tech. I built on where I was and embraced the opportunities that came to me. In some ways, I think that freed me from having to decide a lifelong goal before I even knew myself.”

Averill hopes to inspire the next generation and encourage more young girls to enter the STEM fields. Her advice echoes what she learned when she was younger, just because there weren’t many examples of women in STEM, didn’t mean it wasn’t possible for her.

“Don’t let the fact that you don’t see something prevent you from dreaming it,” said Averill. “I get inspired every day by people who live their lives to their values and find their passion along the way.”