Julie MacDonald has spent the last twenty years living abroad and traveling the world, most recently as the United Nation’s Deputy Director in Uganda for the World Food Programme! After returning home to Seattle and moving full-time into life and leadership coaching, she encountered Sister Schools’ dual-impact program and knew she wanted to get involved.
When she’s not volunteering or mentoring women leaders, Julie loves to spend time outdoors on a hike or in the garden. She also loves to read: anything from self-development and business, to historical fiction or any other good story!
You can hear more directly from Julie in our interview below!
What is your professional background?
For 20 years, I worked for the UN in the World Food Programme. I was actually in Uganda working as the Deputy Director Operations when COVID-19 hit. It was critical to keep our life-saving operations operating for the 1 million plus refugees in Uganda. At the same time, we were challenged to see how we could continue with critical nutrition and school feeding programs in the Karamoja region. Even though school was not in session, food security was critical to so many families in the region.
In November 2020, I left the UN to return to the USA to focus on my coaching. As a life and leadership coach, I empower passionate women to live a life of purpose, meaning and fulfilment that is based on choice, strength and authenticity by focusing what they really want, breaking through the barriers holding them back, and creating their own personal roadmap so they can rise and thrive.
Why did you connect with Sister Schools’ mission?
I spent 2 years in Uganda. I know how hard it is for poor children to stay in school. They often have very little access to basic supplies or food. In Karamoja, school feeding was the main reason many parents sent their kids to school instead of working the fields. But without an education, the opportunities are quite limited.
I also think it is very important to teach children the power and joy of giving.
Sister Schools combines these two amazing objectives to garner understanding locally while providing amazing needed supplies to school children in Uganda.
What are you most excited about joining the Board of Directors?
I am so excited to be part of an organization that is connecting children in the USA and Uganda. I have spent the last 20+ years living and working overseas. It is so important for people to understand what is going on in other parts of the world and learn empathy for others. Teaching children locally about another culture and the importance of giving to those in need is so important.
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled?
This is a very tough one for me. I have lived in 7 countries and travelled to over 65 countries. Each country and their people are all so amazing with their own individual great things and problems as well.
Now I am so happy to be back home and exploring the northwest again. Seattle is and always will be home.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hear from Julie directly as she introduces herself to the Sister School community!