Cabinet Exclusive: Interview with Cabinet CEO, Julia Hawkins

It was International Women's Day on Sunday and this month is about celebrating women and our achievements! In this week's edition of WorkLife, we invited Cabinet CEO, Julia Hawkins, to talk about her journey from an EA to an entrepreneur/CEO.

Julia co-founded Cabinet in 2018. Cabinet is an online community and task management tool designed for executive assistants and aimed at elevating the modern assistant through tech.

How was your experience as an EA?

I loved it. When I was really young, I had a big imagination and loved to play "office" with pretend characters. It felt like my dream had come true. I worked for great people and learned so much while in that role. I also wore other hats, like marketing and finance, so I got a chance to explore what other careers might be like.

Can you tell us more about your role at Cabinet today?

I'm basically the customer advocate, making sure I listen to what executive assistants and admins share with us about their challenges at work and try to communicate those pain points clearly to my team so we can build solutions.

What is your favourite question on Cabinet so far?

There are so many it's hard to choose. I love all of the questions that elevate the discourse and challenge people to think about new ways to become a strategic partner to their executive. Recently, I have enjoyed the thread started by Jeremy Burrows about the Coronavirus. It's interesting to see what assistants are doing to stay two steps ahead of the risks.

Another one of my favourite early threads was started by Marjen Jafarbay. She asked if people had tips for getting their teams to clean up after themselves? It cracked me up. The ideas are brilliant.

What made you want to take the risk of leaving a stable job to start your own company?

I was in graduate school getting my Master's in Business Administration and I did an independent study on the administrative profession. Evan, my classmate and now co-founder, and I met people like Bonnie Low Kramen who were elevating the profession and it inspired us.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from your journey building Cabinet?

Just one!? I have learned so much. But if I had to pick one, I learned that it's important to surround yourself with people who have the courage to tell you what you need to know.

Lastly, what's a mantra you live by?

Success is when you decide it is.