Energy that Doesn’t Quit
Juli Owens, Shepherd Center Board of Trustees chairperson and volunteer extraordinaire, uses her tireless enthusiasm to support the causes she believes in.
Juli Owens is the kind of person who throws herself 100 percent into whatever cause she champions. Her commitment and involvement go beyond financial support: She rolls up her sleeves, jumps in to help and usually assumes a leadership role. And the list of positions she’s held and organizations she’s helped is a mile long. Fortunately, Shepherd Center is at the top of her list.
Her first foray into volunteering at Shepherd Center was chairing The Legendary Party in 2007, which proved to be a springboard for a decade of involvement. She became a member of the Shepherd Center Auxiliary and held many board positions, chaired Peach Corps and served on the Shepherd Center Cup Annual Golf Tournament Committee. She later joined the Advisory Board, and in 2010, she was asked to join the Shepherd Center Foundation Board of Trustees. This April, she started her term as chairperson of the board.
“I have a passion for helping people,” Juli says. “When you get involved with an organization, you can see the impact first hand.”
Juli is a tireless cheerleader for Shepherd Center and wants everyone to know the good things happening at the hospital. Last year, she took two board members to Shepherd Center’s Adventure Skills Workshop (ASW), a three-day nationally recognized workshop where participants can get hands-on practice in adaptive sports. This year, she helped lead an effort in which members of the Board of Directors, Foundation Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board attended ASW and experienced it firsthand.
“They saw people with injuries who were able to do many outdoor activities like zip lining, kayaking, waterskiing and tubing for the first time since their injury,” she says. “It’s another example of the amazing things that go on both inside and outside of Shepherd’s walls.”
Her passion comes from a love of connecting with people and wanting to connect them to each other. When the triathlon team needed a place to practice swimming while the Shepherd Center pool was under renovation, she found one. Juli and her husband have connected the Shepherd’s Men, a running event that raises funding and awareness for the SHARE Military Initiative, with people and resources they knew from New York to the homecoming event in Atlanta to help further the cause. Last year Juli spearheaded Shepherd Center’s presence at the 2016 AJC Peachtree Road Race Expo with a booth that showcased everything the hospital has to offer and was replicated again this year.
She also planned and implemented the first Board of Trustees cookout for patients and their families in 2015.
“This is wonderful hands on experience for Board members and renews their souls of why funding is so important,” Juli says. “There is no better way to spend an afternoon than serving hamburgers off the grill while listening to the stories of the patients and their families.”
Juli is not only active in volunteer work, she is an avid runner with 18 half marathons and multiple 10K and 5K races under her belt. She and her husband have been married for 15 years and have two children. Juli also manages Radiology Consultation Services, a teleradiolgy company that interprets radiographic imaging nationwide. Still, she says, she will always find time for volunteering – and Shepherd Center.
“Shepherd Center is not just a great cause,” she says. “It’s an amazing, life-changing cause. There is nothing like it.”
Written by Sara Baxter
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.