Q & A with Julie Warren, RFL Academy 2013 Alumni
In 2019, Julie Warren suffered the devastating loss of her 16-year-old daughter, Anna, after a three-year battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. That year she started the ALC Foundation to honor her daughter by raising money for organizations that support families fighting pediatric cancer. As the Chief Marketing Officer for the River Valley Ranch Golf Course and co-owner with her husband, Red Cunningham, of the Homestead Bar & Grill in Carbondale, Warren came to RFL Academy 2013 hoping to improve her management and leadership skills, with the goal of building better a workplace culture. Ultimately, she came away from the experience with the communication and planning tools that have helped make her new endeavor with the ALC Foundation an even greater success. Recently, we spoke with Warren about the impact RFL Academy has had on her life and work.
Roaring Fork Leadership: How has your participation in the community evolved since your participation in RFL?
Julie Warren: After the loss of our daughter, we started a foundation in her memory to give back to organizations that give hope and respite to children and families fighting pediatric cancer. This has been a big career change for me, with a more creative focus. We host an annual benefit concert that uses music and community not only to build awareness of pediatric cancer, but also to turn something tragic into something joyful and inspiring. The goal of the foundation is to host incredible bands that create incredible experiences and memories while raising money for the fight against pediatric cancer.
RFL: What qualities have you come to believe are most important for leadership, and why?
JW: There is a certain fearlessness that comes with the confidence that you have the skills to overcome even the biggest of life’s challenges. Resilience through loss taps into your inner strength and puts things into stark perspective. I can try something hard without fearing failure.
RFL: Can you share a highlight from your RFL experience?
JW: At the time, I was managing a different business and through that I’d learned a lot of good leadership strategies, but it was learning some of the ontological truths about being human, which have always fascinated me. Also, I learned that when something’s not working, it isn’t always because I’m deficient in a skill set. A lot of times, we think that if we fix something about ourselves, we’ll solve the problem. But maybe it’s the people I’m working with who aren’t on the same leadership journey – that was a really powerful lesson.
RFL: What impact has RFL had on your personal growth?
JW: I think the personal awareness and self-reflection enabled by the program have allowed me to find my way towards this new path [with the ALC Foundation]. I’ve learned to recognize that life isn’t always going to go the way you planned and that obstacles are not personal —that’s just life. How I react to the hard times is what defines my life, not the hard times themselves. We all have that inner strength; sometimes we just need some guidance to find it.
To support the ALC Foundation mark your calendars for the ALC Foundations’ Benefit Concert this July 22 at the RVR Golf Course driving range, featuring Big Head Todd & The Monsters!