The Courage to Make Change and Trust One’s self

Episode #1088: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Julie Gammack, an Executive Coach, retired Vistage Chair, and CEO of Julie Gammack Productions, shares the power of free press, Julie’s experience finding the “story” that exists in everybody, and her story of transitioning from radio and news to Vistage executive coaching. Tune in for a powerful discussion on personal courage, forgiveness, and the purpose of free press.



About Julie Gammack

Julie Gammack is a retired Vistage Chair and Executive Coach out of Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to executive coaching, she was a journalist, reporter, columnist, and talk news radio host. Today, she is the CEO of Julie Gammack Productions.


Julie has greatly impacted the lives of business leaders in her 20 years of experience as an executive coach of those with businesses ranging in revenue from 4 million to 700 million. Through her executive coaching, she was awarded the Chair Excellence Award.


As the current CEO of Julie Gammack Productions, Julie produces a writer’s retreat in Okoboji, Iowa. She has created and held the Blue Ridge Writers’ Retreat, The Aspen Writers’ Retreat, and The San Juan Island Writers’ Retreat. Julie is passionate about journalism and helping writers bring out the story within themselves.

Key highlights

The courage to make change

Timestamp 11:09


Early in Julie’s childhood, Julie learned that “boys and girls had different opportunities.” While her brother was able to make “a lot of money with a paper route,” she was unable to because girls were not allowed to be paper carriers. Years later, she started pushing for change. She shares a story of a time she had the courage to make a change for good in her first year of college. During her freshman year, Julie was on the Student Senate and she introduced a “resolution to abolish women’s hours.” At her college, boys were allowed to be out all night, but girls “had to be in their dorm rooms by 10:00 PM.” After bringing forth this movement, Julie received some pushback, but she maintained courage and moved forward. Her suggested “resolution passed unanimously” in 1968. Today, Julie maintains her passion for fairness and courage.


From radio to Vistage

Timestamp 25:49


Julie’s journey from radio to Vistage involved several different fields. After her time in radio, she became a newspaper columnist. After this, she worked for a presidential campaign. She then transitioned to entrepreneurship as an “early adopter of technology.” This ultimately led her to work with Vistage. She explains that the skill set she gained in these fields benefited her executive coaching career because it enabled her to ask powerful questions and listen. She states that as a coach “you don’t get there unless you ask probing questions…. you have to be able to listen.”


Finding the story in everyone

Timestamp 33:10


When discussing the writers’ retreats that Julie produces, Severin asks what she has learned while conducting these. She shares that you have to keep your focus on what is in the best interest of the participants. She also explains that you have to be clear about your “why.” For Julie, her “why” in producing these writers’ retreats is to “help people become better writers” because “there’s a story in everybody.”


“Is there somebody you need to forgive?”

Timestamp 40:35


Julie shares a powerful story of a question she asked during a writers’ retreat. During a retreat, she played the Barbara Streisand song, “Somewhere” from West Side Story which held the theme of forgiveness. After the song played she asked, “is there somebody in your life you need to forgive?” From this question, a powerful book about forgiveness and healing from the aftermath of loss was created by one of her retreat attendees.


Trust yourself

Timestamp 48:32


When asked “what’s a lesson you’ve learned recently that you wish you’d learned earlier on?”, Julie shares that she wishes she would’ve learned to trust herself more. She explains that “as human beings” we “spend so much time in self-doubt” and “imposter syndrome.” Instead, Julie advocates defeating imposter syndrome, removing self-doubt, and embracing courage in all of life’s decision-making.


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