Julie Benezet, Principal
Julie—a former Amazon.com executive, lawyer, and entrepreneur—has spent 30 years building businesses, buildings, and careers. She works as consultant, coach, and teacher to senior executives around the country. She led the development and served as the Academic Leader at Harvard University’s Executive Education “Challenges of Leadership” program at the Graduate School of Design for 10 years.
Leading growth from within companies is a hallmark of her experience across multiple industries. Her achievements include:
- For Amazon.com: She served four years on the leadership team that took Amazon through its early ramp-up phase to its emergence as an established business.
- For business consulting, real estate development, and real estate consulting companies: She led the growth of a number of companies whose clients ranged from Fortune 100 firms to start-ups. She established the Northwest region of a Los Angeles real estate development company.
- For a project management company serving the telecommunications industry: As Vice President, she grew a $400,000 local business into a $10 million national company in one year, opening 8 offices and hiring over 75 people.
- For law firms and the U.S. government: She worked for 12 years as a business and finance lawyer at Wright, Runstad & Company (Seattle), Bogle & Gates (Seattle), Webster & Sheffield (New York) and the U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.).
- For Business Growth Consulting, a firm she founded, she provides strategic growth assessments, strategic planning, leadership succession programs and communication strategies for companies wanting to build their executive bench.
Julie’s Own Journey
“I am a hard-wired entrepreneur. Even in a mature, well-established setting, I cannot resist exploring how to make things more relevant, satisfying, better. Not perfect, better.
My own leadership journey has pursued the road to “better” in numerous settings. In each case, at first I had to find the road. The four years I spent at Amazon.com marked the zenith of looking for that road, and then figuring out how to travel it. While I was not there at the very beginning, I arrived close to the start. All was new and unknown: The company had no firm strategic plan or operating history. The e-commerce industry was new and undefined. The Digital Age was dawning. Working globally to serve individual consumers through the reach of the Internet was unprecedented. Buying on line, qu’est-ce que c’est? The list went on…
My responsibility was to build the initial global real estate footprint and the supporting infrastructure. To put the right pieces into place, we had to figure out the relevant parts of the company business plan before the executives had decided up on them. We also worked without benefit of company processes—capital budget, approval processes, expense reimbursement forms…you name it.
Despite the odds, we muscled forward. The stress was enormous, and there were many scary moments. I was routinely in a place of discomfort. The truth was, however, I loved it. My head hurt from thinking so hard and my feet hurt from all the walking around the different parts of the company to figure out what was going on that affected my deliverables.
We achieved our goals and delivered over 7,000,000 square feet of real estate worldwide in two years. I learned more than I thought it was possible to learn. Even better, I had the extreme pleasure of working with a team of people inside and outside the company who pulled together, forged new territory and were immensely proud of their achievements.”