35 Under 35: Julia Asprey, Executive Director, Burgum Foundation

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do.

I was born and raised in Fargo, and am a proud graduate of NDSU! I earned my degree in Political Science, worked in the 2018 mid-term election cycle, and then went on to get my MBA from the University of Mary. For my 8-5, I am the incoming Executive Director of Burgum Foundation, and 24/7 I am a wife and mom to our two kids (and two dogs, and four fish). Our family spends as much time as we can at the lake in the summer, with family and friends, and exploring all of our amazing Fargo Parks.

I have been at Burgum Foundation for the last four years as a Grants Manager, and am now stepping into the role of Executive Director which I could not be more excited about. Burgum Foundation’s mission is to support the education of rural North Dakota students, families, and community members. I have always been interested in philanthropy, community outreach, youth, and education, so I feel very fortunate to be in a role where I have the ability to impact all of those spaces not only in Fargo but across North Dakota.

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why? Who inspires you?

Many people have been so helpful and influential throughout my journey. I am so fortunate to have a mentor at Burgum Foundation I have learned from the last four years. She has shared her philanthropic and programming knowledge with me and also has modeled authenticity, grace, and compassion in a way that inspires me to be the type of leader she is.

Additionally, I work with many teachers and school leaders through my role at Burgum Foundation, my husband is an Assistant Principal, and I’m always inspired by the lengths some of these educators go to meet the needs of kids. They do so much with so little, and every time I’m in a school on a site visit, at a parent-teacher conference, or ask my husband how his day was, I’m reminded that there are thousands of educators in our state that go far and beyond their job description every single day.

What drives you?

Modeling what being a healthy, happy, hard-working person looks like for my kids drives me. There is no better way to instill important values and habits in my kids than embodying them myself.

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

Something that can be improved in our business community, or any business community, is the way employers work with their employees’ personal lives and existing commitments. Many people have significant responsibilities in their lives, whether it be as a single parent, behavioral health diagnoses, children with special needs, an ill family member, and so on. If businesses can have greater awareness and supportive practices of employee’s real-life commitments and challenges, I personally believe that type of loyalty pays dividends.

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

We have a busy family and one of our favorite things is getting outside with the kids and walking or exploring new (to us) parks in town.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to see myself with a happy, healthy family and embrace the opportunities my life and career present me. In 10 years, my hope is I’ll be part of driving philanthropic engagement in our community.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I’m hoping to gain relationships with other members of our class and learn how to best develop my specific leadership style. Leadership isn’t one size fits all, and I want to see how I can maximize my leadership strengths and improve upon challenging aspects also.

Tell us about 1-2 books, podcasts, or professional development experiences that have changed the way you view leadership.

I really like the “Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.” It’s faith-based, but also touches on different leadership principles and circumstances and how to navigate them. For me, it’s been a way to explore leadership a bit more before fully diving into my professional role.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.