Co-Chief Executive Officer

Julia has 26 years of experience in the human services field, with specific areas of expertise ranging from women and children’s issues to poverty, basic needs, victimization and homelessness.  Julia joined SafePlace in 1995 and served as Chief Program Officer and then Deputy Director until 2002, during which time she spearheaded the building of Supportive Housing on the SafePlace campus. She became Executive Director of Caritas of Austin, before rejoining SafePlace as Executive Director in 2005. She has been a critical member of SAFE’s history and development, having served with the Center for Battered Women and SafePlace for 18 years.

A 5th generation Texan, Julia graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from The University of Texas at Arlington.  After working as Associate Vice President of Allocations with the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County, she relocated to Austin and began her role as Director of Social Services with the Salvation Army before joining SAFE.

Julia is well regarded as a community collaborator, maintaining strong relationships with leaders in other agencies that provide services on the continuum of poverty, oppression, homelessness and violence. She summons every aspect of her vast nonprofit management experience to drive social change:  shaping how people think, feel and behave about this continuum of issues – and fighting for the fundamental right for all people to live with respect and safety – is what drives her every day.  In fact, a great day for Julia is when she can turn the question from a reporter from “Why does she stay?” to “Why did he do that?”

Julia Recommends Reading: The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Baines Johnson by Joseph Califano, Jr., and Texas Gardener magazine

To contact Julia, please email Laurie Pharr at