Female Disruptors: Super Julie Braun of Super Purposes On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Authority Magazine
Jun 30 · 14 min read

I’ve learned one more recently, right after I’d just decided to get rid of all of my material trappings. The truth is, I’m a digital nomad, I live out of a suitcase, I have one pair of shoes. I take care of my friend’s homes and live as free as possible. I was with some friends, and one friend said, “Aren’t you worried about your security?” My other friend said, “Well, there is no such thing as security. The only security that you have, or will ever need, is in your heart.” That just sounded so perfect to me.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Super Julie Braun.

Super Julie Braun (call her SJ) is the Founder & CEO of Super Purposes™. The company teaches people how to get the salary they deserve regardless of their challenges and takes the fear and formality out of the career search. Super Purposes™ has helped over 16,000 people with their online courses, “How To Get A Job In 12 Weeks!”

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

A little over seven years ago, I got sober. In that first year of my sobriety, I realized that my life leading up to that point was empty. I was on my third serial entrepreneur business, and while I enjoyed what I was doing, it was a tough business model, and it was hard to make money. I didn’t feel like we were helping people in a way that I knew that we could. So, with a very sober mind, I wanted to create something that would change people’s lives in a significant way, and it brought me on a path to the way we help people. We started helping people with their careers, getting them the jobs they deserve and helping them overcome their challenges. It has been gratifying and exciting. So what led me to this particular career path was that first year of sobriety and being part of the Alcoholics Anonymous Club.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The Employee Revolution is here! Unlike other traditional career coaching companies, we remove fear and formality from how people manage, interact, and guide their careers.

For almost 20 years, I have been working remotely and teaching others how to do that. COVID has made virtually everyone have to work remotely. We’re disruptive because we’ve always had this kind of thought process, way before COVID, and the world is just starting to catch up. Lots of people either got laid off from their jobs or had to work from home, and because that happened, we’re seeing people in all kinds of different environments. We see people with their hair not done, no makeup on, and the kids are running around screaming or crying. The husband or wife or partner is yelling, “Hey honey, do we have milk?” You hear the dog barking in the background. We’re seeing everyone’s chaotic life. The benefit of this is that we never have to take our PJs off, and we can either be barefoot or in slippers. We will never go back to what life was like before COVID. It’s doubtful that many of us will be putting on a dress and high heels or a suit and tie and walking into an office again unless we work in a particular field like law. Most of us will be wearing our leggings and sweats for the rest of our lives.

It’s an employee’s market right now, and we have recently seen in the news that people are not going back to the office. Instead, they are quitting their jobs. Living in Seattle, I have friends who work for Amazon and Microsoft, and many have told me that they would leave their jobs when forced to go back to the “office-centric” headquarters in the fall. Meanwhile, both Amazon and Microsoft are starting to wake up, which is why the “back to the office” dates are now a moving target; a hybrid of remote and physical office is being considered, it’s all up for grabs. In addition, people are catching up to the benefits of COVID, like spending more time at home and being more honest about their lives.

We’re disruptive because we teach job seekers how to develop relationships instead of talking to machines. You might say, well, that’s not disruptive at all. But the reality is that the entire human resource industry dispels a horrible myth that we’re all forced into believing, and that is filling out online applications. Everyone fills out online applications, and nobody ever meets a real human being unless they get through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS is software that collects applications and identifies keywords and phrases that will decide whether or not you’re suitable for the job. We are entirely the opposite of what everyone else is teaching about how to get a job. We teach people how not to fill out another online application and build relationships with other human beings.

We disrupt the industry because we embrace an authentic, casual, get-to-know-the-human-being-kind of scenario when meeting with a potential employer. Instead of having our clients treat their interviews like interrogations, we align them never to have another interview again. We don’t even call it an interview! Instead, we call it having a conversation. So when you go to find out about a job, it’s not with a company but with another human being. It’s a dialogue, and it’s a back and forth. It’s sharing stories, and it’s laughing, it’s having comradery. It’s not the crazy, old-fashioned, 1950s way of doing an interview, which other career companies and coaches continue to teach today!

Our marketing is disruptive. Our team is from 15 to 73 years old, they’re every walk of life, and they’re every shade of the rainbow. Some are stay-at-home parents, veterans, immigrants, and formerly incarcerated individuals. We also have people all along the spectrum of disabilities — psychiatric, learning, and physical disabilities. Because we have such a diverse team of people, we can empathize with every human being because WE ARE every human being.

We probably have the grand equalizer that makes us unique, disruptive, and different, and that is our zany, approachable sense of humor. We like to bring it into everything that we do. Career is kind of bland, boring, and do I need to say it? Painful. Nobody wakes up in the morning and goes, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. I’m going to go look for a job!” So we make it more entertaining and funny!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

So the funniest mistake did not happen to me, but it is the best. The most comical story that I ever heard was about this woman who went into a panel interview, and three people were sitting on one side of the table, and then she sat on the other side. And meanwhile, along the wall were the other candidates. So if you can imagine going into an interview, it’s already a stressful situation, but here, your competition is watching too.

She’s sitting in front of three people that are firing questions at her, right and left. All of her competition is seated along the wall, listening to her answers, and they’re preparing their answers so that they can sound brighter and better qualified than she is. She answers all of their questions, thinking to herself, “Oh my goodness, I am a Rockstar!” She was so proud of herself because she’s so well-practiced in her answers. She’s asking them questions, and she’s creating a dialogue with three different people. She’s just in her power and in the moment. When they conclude the interview, they invited her to stay and listen to the other candidates if she wanted to. She’s feeling so good about herself, and she thinks, you know what, I’m out of here! She shakes everyone’s hand, and then she walks towards the door, and she steps inside. She closes the door, and then she realizes that she just walked into the janitor’s closet!!!

Now here’s the question: Does she stay in the closet until everyone in the room leaves? Or does she step out of the closet? Does she turn on the water in the closet, creating a flood, and thus, the entire building gets evacuated?

So she opened the door, came out, and said, “Oops! Wrong closet!” How awesome was that? I laugh every time I think about it. I would have hired her on the spot! I would have started to clap and shout to her! “Bravo! Bravo!” I would have made the mic-drop gesture.

She left the interview, and she did not get the job. Because you would have hoped maybe somebody would have had a good laugh and they would have thought, “Oh my gosh, that is so embarrassing! What a champ!” Then perhaps something good would have come of it. But I guess that goes back to holding people at such an unattainable and inhuman kind of standard. The reality is we’re all humans. We all make mistakes, and all have fears and frustrations and families. So we’ve got to bring that newness and the fun and the funny into our careers.

What I learned is I’m glad that she didn’t get that job. I think when a company sets up a panel and has your competition sitting there watching, it’s a direct insult to the person who’s interviewing for a job. We’re not cattle, so don’t put me out on the stage, check my teeth, and see if I look good enough for the position! It was not an audition. It should have been a human exchange, and it didn’t surprise me that she didn’t get the job.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Mother Jones: She was a scrappy old grandma of a socialist and a famous female labor activist. She fought for economic justice and called herself a hell-raiser. There’s a magazine called Mother Jones (now online) based upon her and her beliefs. She’s inspired me to care about people in a way that I probably didn’t ten years ago. It woke me up to other people in their challenges.

Cathy Hughes: She’s a black female entrepreneur and a tremendous radio and television personality. She founded a media company called Radio One (it’s now known as Urban One), and she’s the first black woman to head a publicly traded corporation. HUGE! She had an extremely rough life. At one point, she was homeless, and she would bring her son to the radio station after school, where they’d sleep in a sleeping bag under her desk. Her resilience amazes me.

Tom Shadyac: He’s the director that made the Ace Ventura movies, among others, but he did a documentary called I Am, where he shares how he had all the trappings of material success but gave it all up after a bicycle accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. At that moment, his entire life changed. He sold everything, and he donated his money to people who couldn’t meet their basic needs. He also had his awakening; he has made an enormous impact on my life.

Every day heroes come in and out of our lives, like the bus drivers, the garbage people who pick up the recycling, the mail carriers, and the people at the grocery store. They are holding our society together by doing these acts of service. I count them as heroes, and I try to thank them along the way. They inspire me.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think Amazon is probably on both sides of this equation.

Amazon is disruptive because it shook up the retail world and taught us that we don’t have to drive to a mall to buy things. Instead, we can stay at home, push a button, and anything our heart desires arrives in 24 hours or less. It’s so convenient if you’re home and you’re not feeling so hot that you can go online and order groceries or what you need from a store and get it fast. That’s awesome.

Those are good things, but at the same time, I have empathy for brick-and-mortar stores that have taken the hit, and I don’t think it’s fair that one person or a large company gets all the profits. We’re making some individuals incredibly wealthy, beyond anyone’s imagination, and to what end? There is also a toll on our environment that we have not reckoned with. What are we doing to our planet with each box or package that goes in the trash? And the trucks putting all of that exhaust out into our environment? That’s the other side of that coin. I think Amazon is a dichotomy between convenience and waste.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

My favorite saying probably of all time is “You Are In the Middle of Your Miracle,” which loops back to when I first started getting sober. I had a sponsor, and we were reading the AA book together, it’s called the Big Book, and when we got to the first or second chapter, I turned to her, and I said, “I don’t know if I can do this,” and she said, “You are in the middle of your miracle.”

I could not have envisioned anyone saying something wiser at that moment. I just loved her so much for saying it because it’s so true; we don’t know it when we’re in the middle of our miracle. We only know when things are great, like “I got the job!” or “I won the lottery!” And we know when things aren’t so great; we’re depressed or sad, sick, worried or anxious. But you’re not aware when you’re in the middle of your miracle. So I love it, and I share those words with other people.

Another good piece of advice was, “Give up when you’re dead.” I had a boss, and his name is Bob Entersz. I was working late one night, it was like nine or 10 o’clock, and he popped his head into my office to tell me he was going home. I was exhausted, and I told him, “I’m ready to give up.” He looked at me and said, “Give up when you’re dead.” We both started laughing, and I thought, isn’t that just perfect? There’s no failure when you never give up. Do it when you take a dirt nap!

I’ve learned one more recently, right after I’d just decided to get rid of all of my material trappings. The truth is, I’m a digital nomad, I live out of a suitcase, I have one pair of shoes. I take care of my friend’s homes and live as free as possible. I was with some friends, and one friend said, “Aren’t you worried about your security?” My other friend said, “Well, there is no such thing as security. The only security that you have, or will ever need, is in your heart.” That just sounded so perfect to me.

I have lots of friends who love and take care of me, and I know if something terrible happens, a friend or maybe a stranger will stop and help me. So I know that security is in my heart.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We are finishing up our first season of a docuseries called “From Ground Zero To Career Superhero!” where we take five unemployed and underemployed individuals and follow them on their career journey. This 12-week docuseries has been one of the most exciting projects that I’ve been able to work on. It’s been amazing to see the growth, challenges, and heartbreak that they’ve all experienced in their job search. Each one of them represents a segment of the population. It’s been fantastic, and after we complete this docuseries, we will be preparing for one next year when we will be doing season two. We’re going to be much more selective about the group of people that we choose. We want to get someone from the Trans or Gender Non-Conforming community, an immigrant, a stay-at-home-parent, and I would love to get someone in the disability zone. That would be awesome. So just really kind of shake it up and get kind of a ragtag crew of people who represent some of the challenges we all have.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

When we focus on our differences versus theirs, it becomes an easy crutch to lean on. Look, we all want and strive for the same things. We all want financial security; we all want to be successful and do meaningful work; we want to overcome our emotional insecurities. We all want to be loved and to love others.

I know I’m a white woman and that inequality exists. But that’s the case for everyone! People over 50 think ageism is a challenge. People with disabilities may say, ‘I can’t get a job because I have this or that.’ We all face unique challenges, and I believe that recognizing this has brought me to do the kind of work we’re doing today. Our entire company is created to help people from all walks of life with their challenges. We help folks in the LGBTQIA+ community, formerly incarcerated individuals, recovering alcoholics and addicts, and people with disabilities, among others. The key is to surround yourself with people that honor who you are.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Ted Talks

• Build a School in the Cloud by Sugata Mitra

https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud

When I saw this TedTalk, I had a big ah-ha when Sugata talks about “When knowing becomes obsolete” and the inequality we have throughout our society in access for others. He creates a level playing field and what happens is astonishing. Watch it; it’s a mind-blower.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I imagine that we could completely change the way we work and live more meaningful lives. For example, instead of working 40 hours a week to buy more stuff, what if we could work 10 hours a week, spend the other 30 hours with friends and family, and volunteer to help homeless people or old folks, or others in need? Or volunteer to clean up the rivers and the ocean? What if that was the world we could create while making a living wage working 10 hours a week? I’d love to trigger that movement!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

I’m in the AA Club, and I’m proud of it!

How can our readers follow you online?

https://superpurposes.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/super-purposes/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgZ8unOBxaV6s5srqmgwxLg

https://www.facebook.com/SuperPurposes/

https://twitter.com/SuperPurposes

https://www.instagram.com/superpurposes/

https://www.tiktok.com/@superpurposes?lang=en

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Authority Magazine