Julie Averill is lululemon’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Ms. Averill joined lululemon in May 2017, and brings more than 25 years of experience leveraging innovative technology to transform retail businesses and enhance guest experiences.
Ms. Averill comes to lululemon from REI, where she most recently served as the brand's first-ever Chief Information Officer. While at REI, Ms. Averill led the company’s technology strategy, overall IT operations, and technology transformation that enabled its member and employee base to more deeply connect with its purpose for people to enjoy the outdoors. Prior to REI, Ms. Averill spent over a decade at Nordstrom where she held several key positions on the company’s IT leadership team and was responsible for driving online, store, and omni-channel innovation within Nordstrom’s technology platforms. Ms. Averill received her MBA from the University of Washington, and Bachelor’s in computer science from Seattle Pacific University. She serves on several non-profit STEM and education advisory positions, working to provide access to technology careers for all. She is also a mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family in the Puget Sound, and traveling across the world.
WITH GROUPS CREATING PROGRAMS TO ENCOURAGE FEMALES TO CONSIDER STEM, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO ENTRY THAT IS STILL PREVALENT TODAY?
In my own personal experience, and watching the world through the eyes of my 15-year-old daughter, I don’t think that girls as easily picture themselves in technology careers so they don’t dream about it, they don’t reach for it, and they don’t kindle the passion. They don’t relate to “STEM” or “computer science” because they don’t realize it leads to a path that’s exciting and rewarding. We need more role models and we need to change the perception of the terms.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by so many things – but probably most of all is the open-mindedness of kids. I have three kids, they inspire me to challenge the way I think. They see the world as possibilities and boundary-less. Everyone can be a friend and should just be nice. It’s that simple. We had a German exchange student, and then a Spanish exchange student, live with us each for a year. My youngest son Ermias was born in Ethiopia and lived there for six years. This morning I watched him hop out of the car, turn back and show me “thumbs up” with a big grin, and skip off to fourth grade. Everything is possible and the way to do amazing things is by looking at the world through the lens that includes all its amazing people in all their unique backgrounds and views, and come together.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT/ACCOMPLISHMENT?
This one is difficult. I have been very fortunate to have so many moments that I am proud of. But for sure the top has to be the moment when I became a mom. I had no idea how magical of a journey it would be. I now have three kids – a high schooler, a junior high schooler, and a fourth grader. There is nothing in my life that I am prouder of than my beautiful, feisty, opinioned and loving kiddos.