Julie Roehm on What It Means to Rise Above: An Example of Selfless Giving
Julie Roehm has proven time and again that she is able to face a variety of challenges in her life, both professionally and personally. The consummate marketing professional recently sat down in an interview with Meta’s Vice President, Global Business Group Nada Stirratt to share her experience as a kidney donor to bring awareness to the National Kidney Foundation during a live Meta event. The story she shared was one of compassion and selflessness completely in line with what Julie’s friends and colleagues have come to know her as: someone who never fails to rise above circumstances and do what it takes to help others.
Julie Roehm on Her Experience with Kidney Donation
Roehm did not plan to be a kidney donor. She was at home following her usual routine when her mother called her in a panic to say that her father had fallen and needed to go to the hospital. The tests were clear. He had gone into kidney failure and needed critical care in order to survive. After learning more about their options and what to expect as far as Roehm’s father’s health outlook, Roehm realized that she could make a difference by becoming a kidney donor.
The choice was clear from the start. “From the get-go, I thought, if I can give a kidney, and have a quality of life and not have any real risk of shortened lifespan or reduced quality of life, I’m going to do it,” she shared in the recent interview. True to form, she also conducted a wealth of personal research into the topic, one she had not explored before, to learn what to expect regarding donors, life expectancies, and complications. The time she took to seriously contemplate the option dispelled a lot of myths surrounding kidney donations, putting her at ease when it came to the initial decision to move forward.
The next step in the journey was to go through a series of evaluations and meetings with doctors and other healthcare providers. Their goal was to ensure that Roehm understood the extent of the operation and that she was physically and mentally sound enough to navigate the major surgery. From nutritionists to nephrologists, Roehm was interviewed and examined in a two-way dialogue with a complete healthcare team dedicated to her well-being as well as her father’s. “I really enjoyed the process because I was able to ask a lot of questions and really break it down,” Roehm said in retrospect.
Cleared for the operation, Roehm went forward with the donation to her father, helping to save his life in the process. She noted that while the recovery was a bit taxing, she now experiences nearly zero limitations on her life, aside from not being able to consume medications containing ibuprofen or participating in high-contact sports. “I credit my healthy habits for allowing me the opportunity to help him and vastly improve his quality of life as well as being able to return to my former health,” Roehm shared. She also shared that the National Kidney Foundation has a program in place to support donors. If anything were to happen to Roehm’s remaining kidney, she is already in their registry and would be added to their list of people in need of a donor themselves.
Roehm was also happy to report that, nearly a year after the kidney donation, her father is in good health and managing the side effects of receiving a new kidney in good spirits. “He can do anything he was doing before, so it’s really been a miracle,” explained Roehm. “The feeling that you get and the goodness that you do for somebody … I don’t know how you could say no.” Julie Roehm was just one of 25,000 people to donate a kidney in 2022. The National Kidney Foundation relies on a vast network of awareness and donations to help save lives. Beyond pairing donors with patients in need, the Foundation also advocates for innovation when it comes to patient experiences and treatments, helping to improve the quality of life for everyone involved.
Selflessness Going Above and Beyond with Julie Roehm
While donating a kidney may be one the quintessential ways for an individual to go above and beyond, the pattern of selflessness and dedication to others is a theme woven throughout Julie Roehm’s personal life and career. The marketing professional has long stood as an advocate for others facing adversity in the workplace, especially for women in male-dominated companies. She has demonstrated her own quest to break through the glass ceiling by pursuing several executive and c-level positions throughout her career and striving to empower other women within the organizations she has worked for.
Roehm has always had a competitive attitude, whether at play or at the office. She brought this mentality with her by continuing to pursue leadership positions in male-dominated industries. “Being a young, blonde female in the corporate world, there was always a stereotype that was attached to me…a set of preconceived notions,” Roehm shared. “In the traditional corporate world, they see you and there’s that instant judgment. Instead of being resentful of that, I chose to use it as my motivating factor and a chance to prove those people wrong.”
She also looks to help others overcome prejudice in the workplace and inspire others to take the perhaps more difficult path that can lead to success and enfranchisement to achieve their goals. “You can be what people expected which was quiet and unobtrusive or you could stand out in multiple ways (which has its consequences), work hard, and reach your full potential. I chose the latter,” Roehm explained. She has demonstrated this time and again in her work with Ford Motor Company, Daimler-Chrysler, and most recently as Chief Marketing and Experience Officer for Party City. No matter the industry, she has been able to push the limits in marketing and customer experience to improve the brands she has worked for and rise above adversity in the workplace with poise.