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December 22, 2017
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Molly Blake

#FRONTSTEPSFamily!

The FRONTSTEPS family is pretty special. Besides the fact that we work hard (play hard) and dedicate tons of energy to making this company amazing, there are folks here who are incredibly talented outside of the office. Juli Royster is one of these skilled peeps. Read on to find out why Juli is our FRONTSTEPS Family spotlight.

How long have you been working at FRONTSTEPS and why do you love working here?

I started at FRONTSTEPS in March of this year.

As clich̩ as this is, what really makes FRONTSTEPS such a great place to work is our people. We have very smart and talented people in our company, and I feel very fortunate to work along-side these people every day.

Tell me about where you grew up and how you wound up in the great state of Colorado?

After living in Texas most of my life, I found myself 13 years ago nestled in the foothills of Boulder with only my basses and 2WD Xterra. I moved out here to attend graduate school at CU and never left. I love Colorado. It's everything I've ever wanted in a state: beautiful mountains, great beer, glorious weather, and an abundance of wonderful people.

You are an incredible musician. Tell me how you got into music and when you knew you had mad skillz!

Although I started playing music in junior high, I really fell in love when I first heard Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album. He wrote such catchy songs! What first blew my mind about music was how all of the moving parts work together, much like a business. You take a group of people, all playing different instruments, at different skill levels, and each person plays different beats, melodies, and harmonies. When you put it all together, it creates this beautiful masterpiece. I taught myself to play the bass in high school and studied bass in college. From there, I quickly began freelancing and teaching music in Texas and then Colorado.

What does music mean to you and tell me about some of the gigs you have been a part of, recently. Music has been such a great teacher for me. I've learned so many concepts from music that I use every day. I first learned about teamwork playing with many different people and groups. I learned that I can't bulldoze people musically and have to give others space to speak. I learned that I have to be a support for the musicians, sometimes laying my own ideas aside fully giving myself to the bigger goal. That ultimately meant I had to buy into the bigger goal.

I've learned how to better communicate with other people. Music is very much a conversation, constantly giving and receiving. I've learned that in order to lead, you have to know where you're going and how to motivate others to join you. Music is very much about seeing the big picture, and plotting how we are all going to get there together.

The most recent gig I played was the first annual Colorado Women of Jazz showcase. This was such a cool event because it brought together 30 different female jazz artists in the Denver/Boulder area to create music together. We had no rehearsal. Everyone showed up to the gig ready to make some music. It was everything I mentioned above on steroids!! The gig turned out so well that it's going to be an annual event.

What do you like most about being in HR and what do you bring to FRONTSTEPS that's special?

What I love about HR is everything I mentioned above. HR, or People Operations, as we like to call it here at FRONTSTEPS, is very much about supporting our people as we drive our business forward. We are constantly looking at the big picture, working to understand the business and how our people operations can improve, develop and scale as the business grows. Rather than being administrators of your benefits and paychecks, I truly believe the most value is in our ability to see all aspects of the business and strategically partnering with every department to make our business thrive. I obviously have a background in music, but I've also spent extensive time in Operations running manufacturing lines and managing teams. I believe it is this unique background and experience that easily aligns with our mission and vision to reimagine and transform the way communities live, engage and prosper.

"Juli is a critical part of the team helping to run the business and build our people capabilities every day," said Deb Cooper, Director of HR and Development. "She recently received our Move with Purpose and Urgency Core Value award in recognition of her partnership with other departments in leading a significant project. Juli truly embodies this value every day at FRONTSTEPS. She's levelheaded and kind and every one of our employees benefits from her approachability. We are lucky to have her on our team."

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