An opera singer turned engineer turned communications coach? It may not add up at first, but when you get to know Julie Hill, it all makes sense. For many years, she witnessed fellow engineers struggle to articulate their brilliant ideas, and she knew she could use her performance background to come to the rescue. After leading a workshop at the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference called “Don’t Fear the Mic: Public Speaking Lessons from an Opera-Trained Engineer,” she joined the Own The Room team to help technical professionals around the globe unleash their potential.
While receiving her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at DePaul University, Julie spent a year in an intentional-living community. The tenets she inherited from that community inspired an interest in alternative energy, conservation, and her eventual return to school to pursue a new career. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, and embarked on a 10-year career with ExxonMobil, where she worked as a Maintenance Engineer, Environmental Advisor, and Project Manager. During her time at ExxonMobil, Julie received an internal award for Engineering Excellence and was actively involved with the Society of Women Engineers. She is currently a Reliability Engineer for PBF Energy and also serves as the President of the company’s Women’s Interest Network, hosting quarterly events and developing employee mentorship opportunities.
A passionate environmentalist, Julie loves spending time outdoors hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking. Her family regularly volunteers with the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy, and she and her husband helped run a nature-based preschool at Wilderness Park Nature Preserve for several years. Julie’s adventurous spirit motivated her to receive a blessing from an elephant in India; during the process, the friendly giant drooled on her head — a symbol of good things to come. She can still be heard singing on stage with the Long Beach Chorale and, sometimes, outside with her guitar in hand.