Julie Hite, the youngest of three siblings, was born in Saudi Arabia, where her father was a geologist for a major oil company. Her family returned to the US when she was five, and settled in a rural farming community in the Pacific Northwest.
She and her siblings worked in the family news agency business, founded by her grandfather, for most of their youth, starting in grade school. She says that her father, who had taken over the business by then, felt it was important for his children to learn what having a job is all about, in order to better understand the value of an education. Julie worked as a waitress throughout high school, while also training and competing in gymnastics, as well as teaching it.
She went on to attend the University of Washington, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. With thoughts of eventually going to law school, she joined a Seattle law firm, where she started as a receptionist before ultimately becoming a paralegal—work she continued doing for several years.
A door to a new path opened when she took a position in a law firm as Marketing Coordinator. She enjoyed the work and rose through the ranks in marketing and communication, eventually launching her own consulting practice. It was through her practice, which included the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs among its clients, that she ultimately found her calling in the nonprofit realm.
Her work with Boys and Girls Clubs eventually dominated her practice, and in 2007 she joined the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood as Director of Resource Development, Marketing and Communications. The position gave her an opportunity to hone her skills in fundraising to advance education, and to form important relationships with leaders in the corporate and philanthropic communities, including Disney, Farmers Insurance, Union Bank, and Microsoft.
Her next stop was the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles, as the Director of Development, Marketing and Communication. In that role, she helped generate the financial support for economically disadvantaged students—eighty-five percent of whom were Hispanic—to attend Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Today she is HSF’s Chief Operating Officer and says she can trace the path that led to HSF, all the way back to her childhood and her family’s core belief in equal education. “I want my children to grow up in a world of opportunity—for everyone,” she adds. “In the last decade, we have made great progress in leveling the playing field for access to educational resources, but there is so much more to be done.”
With a deep and personal understanding of the financial challenge of earning a college degree, she urges students and parents to stay the course, at all costs. “There is no better financial investment in one's future,” she says, “than a college degree.”