Podcast: Julie Underwood Won’t Let Fear Get in the Way

In this final episode of LocalGov Life, United Front, Julie Underwood, city manager of Mercer Island, Washington, describes her career and her philosophy on finding mentors.

Julie Underwood, city manager of Mercer Island, Washington, has been the first woman and the first person of color in not one, but two, communities. “It seems silly but I thought if I fail, they’ll never hire another woman…another person of color again,” she said. She shared an anecdote about a councilmember remembering a woman who left a job to spend more time with her family. “He wanted to know if I would do the same thing,” Underwood said. Her manager asked the councilmember whether he would have asked that same question of a man. “He was mortified,” she said. “Unconscious bias. It happens all the time.”  


In this final episode of LocalGov Life, United Front, Underwood describes her career, her philosophy on finding mentors, and how she manages the “second shift.” With three children at home and a demanding career, Underwood stressed how she and her spouse team up on most family responsibilities and how she outsources some of the household chores. She also gives some great advice on how to have those difficult gender bias conversations in a positive way. 

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Guest

Julie Underwood, city manager of Mercer Island, Washington

Resources 

 

#SheLeadsGov

As you follow along with United Front, a special season of Local Gov Life, and listen to these brief stories of six women leaders in local government, join the conversation on social media. Look for the hashtag #SheLeadsGov on Twitter and use it to share stories about the groundbreaking women in local government whom you know. 


Join ICMA's Erika White on the United Front podcast, a special season of Local Gov Life, as she takes you behind-the-scenes with women chief administrative officers (CAO) who have been selected as their community's first female manager. Listen-in for a real discussion on how they made it to the top and what advice they have for women looking to lead in the same role. Subscribe to Local Gov Life on iTunes or Google Play Music.

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