10 Questions With…Julia C. Patrick

CEO of the American Nonprofit Academy, co-host of ‘The Nonprofit Show’ and founder and original publisher of Frontdoors

Congratulations on Frontdoors turning 20! What does this milestone mean to you?

My first thought is, “Wait. Twenty years? Where did the time go? Am I really 20 years older?

Why did you start Frontdoors?

I felt there was a tremendous amount of community bashing. As a third-generation Phoenician and having a child that was now fourth generation, I wanted to connect the amazing stories to the community that could impact great and meaningful change. It was a privilege and sacred trust to be a conduit in this manner.

Where did the name come from?

I drew an imaginary circle around Camelback Mountain and determined that my publication would get to the front door of every home. I meandered down to the U.S. Postmaster General, who at the time lived in Arcadia, and told him about my dream. His team worked with me to launch a trial program where our publication was put in all of the post office trucks and distributed to each and every mailbox in my giant circle. It was brave … on both of our parts!

Out of all of the interviews you’ve done for the magazine, does one stand out?  

Steve Zabilski, the fantastic leader of St. Vincent de Paul. I was interviewing him at one of his shelters and he stopped the interview to connect with a homeless man in distress. I saw the face of compassion, service and leadership in the moment where there was so much crisis. It truly impacted me and will forever be a model of how I want to lead my life.

Who do you wish you’d been able to get on the cover but couldn’t?  

Easy. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she retired from the bench. I wanted the cover to read … “Welcome Home, Sandy.” To old Arizona, that was how she was called. She remains my beacon on what an Arizona girl can achieve.    

Odd things happen at photoshoots. Tell us about one.  

One of the best was during a cover shoot of Gov. Janet Napolitano. I was to interview her after the photographer was done. I had the bad habit of writing my cover stories from memory. My staff was appalled and purchased a small recorder for the interview. They told me I had to at least make a show of turning it on so that her media team would be more comfortable with our interview. At some point, Gov. Napolitano said, “Um, Julia … are you going to turn that thing on?” Honestly, I did not know how and she had to push the button to get it going. I could have died right there, but it started a great relationship.

As publisher of Frontdoors, you had lots of adventures. Which was best?

Being witness to so many historic things that normal, everyday Arizonans have put their hearts and souls into. My social editor, Linda M. Herold, was always dragging me along to events, and I was able to see how hard our community worked to build this fantastic city I proudly call home.

What are you up to these days?  

I started a daily broadcast called “The Nonprofit Show,” which is the nation’s only live, national program dedicated to the nonprofit sector. We have produced more than 350 episodes and are now in year three with a growing number of viewers from across the globe. Monday through Friday, I am in my broadcast studio interviewing all types of people doing amazing and hard things.

What inspired you to start the American Nonprofit Academy?  

I was in the center of a lot of wonderful things in our community but felt I had more to offer than being a chronicler. I wanted to get out of ball gowns and into jeans. I had a meeting with my family and told them I was interested in finding a steward to carry on my vision. I was ready to close things down, and then I saw Andrea Evans speak at an event and determined she was the perfect person to champion Frontdoors. And, she has!

What do you miss about being a publisher?

I have to admit, not much. I am still the captain of my own ship and have the great fortune of working with nonprofits across the nation and abroad. In fact, I have a meeting right after this with a nonprofit CEO in Tanzania, Africa, who is trying to figure out funding for his educational nonprofit. My advice for people starting new ventures or second acts is to be fearless, be mindful and have fun. Thank the people who support you. But most of all, embrace all of the wonderment that abounds.

To learn more, go to americannonprofitacademy.com. 

About Frontdoors Media

Frontdoors Media celebrates the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community. It’s the premier source of information – and inspiration – for those who strive to make the Valley of the Sun a better place to live.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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