Reign FC Legend: Julie Nordstrom

On Wednesday, July 11, Seattle Reign FC plays Utah Royals FC in a midweek match presented by Carter Subaru. As part of the pre-match festivities, Julie Nordstrom will be honored as a Reign FC Legend. The Legends Campaign — a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Avanade — honors women from the Pacific Northwest who have set an example of excellence in our community.

Nordstrom is a board member with UW Medicine with years of experience in the healthcare and medical field. After completing her undergrad degree at the University of Washington, Nordstrom received a law degree from Seattle University and began to forge a career path. Today, Nordstrom is in her 12th year on the board at UW Medicine, where she works closely on global health initiatives and strives to one day provide healthcare for all.

Q: Did you always envision your life unfolding this way, or were there other plans before you got in the health care field?

A: My goal as an undergrad was to make it to law school. I spent a few years in the Midwest when my husband got transferred to Minnesota. That was not part of the plan, or what I was thinking when I started practicing law. But, it turned out to be fantastic. We loved our three years in the Midwest.

Q: Did you always have an interest in community work, or envision that as a possible career path?

A: My plan was to graduate from law school and go out and be successful. There was something for me about becoming a parent and engaging in the community. You realize that it’s not enough to write a check or sign a petition, you have to lift other people up. You have to make an effort to leave the world a better place than you found it.

Q: How did you get involved with UW Medicine?

A: We came back when my husband got transferred back to Seattle. We had three young kids at that point. I continued to do pro bono work, and that’s really what started my volunteer work. I practiced construction law, so that has nothing to do with medicine.

My involvement with UW Medicine came through family circumstances. We had a couple healthcare crises in our family. I felt fortunate that we had such outstanding healthcare in the northwest, and I could access it. We could get to the hospitals we needed to, which gave me the feeling that everyone should have access to healthcare. That’s what led me to UW Medicine; they treat everybody.

A friend of mine was on the board at UW Medicine, and they said, “I think you’d be really interested. It’s helpful to have people outside of medicine on the board.” I joined, and it took me at least a year of being a board member to really understand what UW Medicine does for the community. I’ve now been on the board for 12 years, and the more you sink in and learn about it, the more you get out of it. I’ve had different positions and sat on other committees. I’ve learned a lot about the system, and I just felt so strongly that everyone should have access to healthcare.

When I was growing up, education was the most important thing. Being involved in an academic medical center brings that other piece of it, which is huge. That’s what drew me. I was asked to be in a leadership position: I served as vice chair for two years and now I’m in my third year as the chair. The people that I have been really privileged to meet and support have been humbling. I’m in awe of the work that’s happening. As corny as it sounds, you want to be involved and support the effort.

I’m a huge believer that women should be better represented on boards and in management, whether it’s business, academia, medicine, whatever. The management team at UW Medicine does a great job not only of representing the university, but also the community. It has a balance of women and minorities; we’re not perfect but the management team does a fantastic job.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about your line of work?

A: The people that I’ve gotten to know and been able to work with are incredibly talented, smart people. They’re trying to cure diseases and treat people. They’re doing amazing work. Just getting to know them and supporting them has been one of my favorite parts of this role.

Q: What advice would you offer to young women as they enter the workforce?

A: You don’t have to achieve a certain level to feel that you’re at a point where you can contribute. Engage and get out and try for things, especially young women. Sometimes women feel that they need to achieve a certain level of success or education. Go for it early, and ask the questions, because we are capable. We are at a point in history where women are really poised to make a huge difference and achieve equality. Keep pushing to make a difference in all areas, that’s what I tell my daughters.