Meet Juli Clay! Juli is an Auburn graduate who moved her family from Gwinnett to downtown Gainesville in 2014.  She was raised to have a heart for service to the community, and to leave any place better than the day she found it.  She has a Master’s Degree in Communication and a Doctorate in Business Administration and Leadership and works for Brenau. At Brenau she helped start the first graduate program in the Women’s College and to plan for the G.O.L.D. program fostering the ideas of gender ownership, leadership and diversity for the undergraduate women’s college.
Jui is married to a “very supportive” husband, Brooks.  She and Brooks have three children Noah, Lily Grace and Weatherly, and a Bassett hound named Beauregard. She is currently running for the Gainesville City Council.
I want to thank Juli for having coffee with my wife, Jill, and I in September and being open to allow all of us to get to know her a little better.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I was pre-med until my senior year at Auburn then I changed to public relations. I did a complete 180 and never looked back. I did corporate event planning in downtown Atlanta. Then I had my first child. The hours my job required kept me away from home too much. I had a Master’s degree in Communications.  I loved the communication field and I loved the education that I had gotten so far. One day my husband told me about this pretty college called Brenau, in Gainesville. Brooks was working in Gainesville at the time while I was in Atlanta.
“I was too young to know that I probably wasn’t experienced enough and, I was too young to stop myself from calling Brenau. I found out that there was not a position posted, but I called but the chair anyway. I was told that Brenau had just taken down a position in corporate communications and public relations because they could not fill it in over two years. They asked me to come for an interview.  I came and interviewed all day the next day, which was a Thursday. I started my career at Brenau the next Monday! It was the best decision that I ever made! I started at Brenau 2006 and I moved to Gainesville in 2014.
“The same day I started at Brenau my husband took a job in Atlanta. Our commutes flip flopped. Our children started at the Brenau Child Development Center and then went on to Enota. I love Enota and the Gainesville City Schools so much.
“In my new hat at Brenau, we are starting the first executive MBA for women at Brenau. Hopefully, more Women’s College graduate programs will follow. It is really exciting.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “El Griton, Gus makes everybody feel like the most important person that ever walked into the restaurant. If you’re having a bad day go there because all of the people are great. I like food a lot. I can name 20 of my ‘favorite’ restaurants in the Gainesville, but today it is El Griton.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Hall County?
A: “I started working in Gainesville in 2006, my kids started school in Gainesville in 2008, and I moved to Gainesville between  2013 and 2014.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Hall County?
A: “I have met a lot of strong women in Gainesville. A great friend of mine asked me to commit to running a 50K (32 miles) in 2018. I ran cross country and played soccer through school. Brooks helps coach cross country at Gainesville Middle School and for the Park and Recreation Department. We are runners, but I had never done anything like that.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “We travel a lot.  This summer we drove from Gainesville to the Arctic Ocean. Like 15,000 miles! Our family is going to Madagascar for Thanksgiving and Italy for spring break! We are so excited. On my bucket list, though, is that I want to go to Cuba. My grandmother always talked about her trips to Cuba so it’s always been at the back of my head. She was a travel agent and traveled the world.”
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “I love ‘Stand by Me,’ ‘Top Gun,’ and ‘Annie.’  They are all-time favorites.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “We camped a lot growing up. There were signs that said ‘Leave your campsite better than you found it.’  This is great advice for anything. Whatever you do, wherever you go, leave it better!”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Our family bucket list is to get our kids to every one of the national parks before the youngest goes to college. That is our collective Clay family bucket list.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I am a huge live music fan. I have seen Madonna, Neil Diamond, Prince, Cindy Lauper, Air Supply and many others. I would still love to see Van Morrison, Otis Redding and Lady Gaga.”
Q: Choosing anyone in a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch?
A: “Politics 100 percent aside, I got to see Michelle Obama speak in Atlanta. I would love to have lunch with her. I might take her to El Griton in ‘the heart of Gainesville.'”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “For me is the sense of community. I have come to love the impromptu meetings I have in Publix or other places that happen all the time. To see the generosity and commitment of this community is incredible.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “I see myself living and dying on Dixon Drive in Gainesville. I will not move again.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I’m a sleeper. I go to bed early. I have never pulled an all nighter. I don’t do dairy. Sprinkles are the best food group.  If they gave me ice cream without sprinkles, I’d be really sad. I don’t have any really good secrets.”
Q: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Comfortable, Safe and Family.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “Amy Poehler, I think it would be fun with her. She is really smart, too.”
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “I would just want someone to do my laundry. That is the never-ending job in a family of five. As soon as it is all done, it starts again! My sweet friend, Jen Terry, loves to do laundry. We have traded roles before. She loves the quiet parts of doing laundry. I watch the kids, she does the laundry and everyone is happy.”
Q: Why are you running for City Council?
A: “I have always thought of  myself as a really good worker bee. I thought it is everybody’s job to work for the community. I was raised that everybody should be doing their part, so I didn’t think of needing to have a position or a title to do that.  After talking to so many people and those that have served before me, I think this is a great opportunity to serve on a different level and in different way.
“I don’t think that most people in Gainesville Hall County know that they’re in such a good community. I have been so lucky to serve with the Chamber and United Way, with the Food Bank and Elachee, with the School Board and Brenau.  Gainesville is an amazing community with people that love and serve BIG.
“I am very excited about this opportunity.  I have young kids in schools here at Enota and GMS.  I am very motivated to help us keep a small town feel, but still be a great place for business. I want Gainesville to be a place where my kids want to come back to. We have great growth. How do we provide a place that is great to do business but also be a great community for the people who live, work, and play here?  If I want this to be a place for my kids to come back to, there has to be employment opportunities here for them.  There is a balance, and I will help Gainesville be balanced.
“The generosity and commitment of the people in this community is amazing.  I’ve never seen this anywhere before.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email