Julie A. Blaylock

Julie A. Blaylock

Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce

President & CEO

Hometown: Rockville Centre, NY

What is your vision for Knoxville 10 years from now?

A thriving and robust community of both locally and nationally recognized business brands with a healthier housing situation, ample job opportunities, and a clear vision for the next 25 years.

What is Knoxville’s Best Kept Secret?

The ability to retain the feel of a smaller town/community while still expanding to have metro city amenities and opportunities.

What would you do to strengthen Knoxville?

Increase the communications and subsequent alignment between key area leaders in Knoxville, Knox County and Town of Farragut.

What is your favorite Knoxville memory?

The day isn’t a happy memory, but I will never forget the local UTK phone system operator who was so sweet and kind to me on 9/11/2001. I had officially transferred to UT, and had “lived” in Knoxville all of 4 weeks when 9/11 happened. Both my parents worked in NYC; one was only one block from WTC. No cell phones, and all my calls to their work or other friends/family wouldn’t go through because the comm’s lines up there were basically dead. That phone operator talked to me for a good 30 minutes, and even prayed for them and for me, and asked me to call her back later to let her know I’d reached them and that they were okay.

What is your favorite book or what book is currently on your nightstand?

Fave: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn / Nightstand: My sister-in-law’s book manuscript!

What is the best advice you have received from a mentor, and who was that mentor?

When she was ailing in her late 80s, my Babka (grandma) used to say, “I’d give anything for any kind of hard work if it meant I had the means to do it.” It wasn’t direct advice, but it taught me to see any kind of work/service as a gift and opportunity, not a burden, and to never take your physical or mental abilities for granted.

What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

Don’t be so afraid to speak up and share your ideas, and don’t judge yourself so harshly compared to everyone else. You aren’t them and they aren’t you, and that’s not just okay…that’s as it should be.

Julie A. Blaylock