End of an Era, New World Ahead

Did you ever end something on purpose? I made a decision this past week (December 2009) that will change my world. I resigned as Wausau Whitewater’s Operations Manager, a position I held since 1997.

Wausau Whitewater has been my passion but it is an end of an era

End of an Era, New World Ahead

It’s the whitewater course in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin hosting regional, national, and international slalom and freestyle whitewater competitions and provided fun and training to thousands of people.

I played a part in two World Cups and numerous US Junior and Senior Team Trials. I watched the organization move into a bigger focus of something for everyone. We refocused on running our own recreational releases in 2009 (people play for $10 plus ACA fees per day) and adding Basic Whitewater Training to those releases.

The only staff member

For this entire time from 1997 to 2009, I was the only staff member, working under Wausau Kayak /Canoe Corporation’s non-profit Board of Directors to execute all of our programs.

My role has been marketing, customer service, registration, event management, public relations, web content development, vendor negotiations, program development, sponsor development, advertising sales, and all around gopher.

I wrote, created, and distributed marketing information, such as the annual program. We figured out how to create an electronic format this year. In 2009, I merged my two worlds when I asked Dawn Bugni, a fellow career professional to help proof my sponsorship copy. I then hired her to copywrite and edit the articles for the book.

Met people from all over the world

In this role, I met people from all over the world, including Olympians like Joe Jacobi and Eric Jackson (EJ). Joe was back in person to coach our training camp this summer. We visited over dinner at Michael’s Supper Club, a meal we had planned on Twitter. Joe is currently the Interim Director of USA Canoe & Kayak, leading the national organization. EJ is well-known for his amazing world freestyle champion moves. He was also a frequent visitor to Wausau with his family during the pro rodeo days. Now EJ runs Jackson Kayak, the fastest growing boat design manufacturer in the world.

I’ve also added to my friend base.

Our current President, Michael Schroeder, a contemporary Christian musician when not leading Wausau Whitewater, became my friend since we met on the river about 10 years ago. This past year, despite the worst possible economy, Wausau Whitewater thrived because we used creative strategies that Mike suggested to keep us going. The whole paddling community enriched my life. I know my Facebook community has a large group of paddlers that I have come to know and love.

In 2010, Wausau Whitewater hosts the USACK Junior and Senior Team Trials. This sets the stage for PreWorlds in 2011 and the 2012 ICF Slalom Canoe Junior World Championships as well as the normal line-up of two to three other events, four or five training clinics, and 10 to 13 recreational releases.

So why am I resigning? Why is it End of an era?

I founded Design Resumes in 1983 as a side business when I was a Property Manager. Later, I went fulltime in 1987 when a transfer to Illinois in property management didn’t work out and we came back to Wausau.

In 1991, my father-in-law suggested I interview for a contracted administrative coordinator position with the Kiwanis Club of Wausau. In 1997, he again suggested I interview for what became my current Operations Manager contract with Wausau Whitewater.

Along the way, I supported two other non-profits with QuickBooks financial recording and reporting. My own business was growing but being stifled at the same time. I thought if I dropped some things, it might help. So in 2003, I dropped the 2 QuickBooks contracts. In 2008, I resigned from Kiwanis. But the energy I put into those other things, quickly transferred not to Design Resumes, but to Wausau Whitewater.

the Design Resumes website

Mike did encourage me to launch the Design Resumes website in January 2009 and that made a dramatic change in my business. For the first time, I market to and work with clients from all over the United States. I’ve learned and grown in social media since fall of 2007. It has definitely changed who I reach and communicate with on a daily basis using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and this blog.

Last year I spent well over 30 days on water.

That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, make that on the river bank, under a tent, running registration, operations, and event management. I have never been in a boat. I do get a great farmer tan, but that’s about it.

What do I want?

Throughout my journey in the career industry, I feel a deep sense of joy and satisfaction as I see my clients achieve their goals. I have many goals unachieved, such as focusing only on Design Resumes. I want to explore how all the initiatives I have made with social media come together to promote my own business.

I want to explore more partnerships like the one I have with Jason Alba. I want to use marketing tools, like e-mail newsletters to my client base and build a follow-up system that I know how to do, but never find time for. I want to continue to grow, learn, dream, and enjoy the world around me.

I want to do fun things, like ride horses, maybe learn to paddle, travel, finish my house remodel, work in my garden, play with Teddy, read, and enjoy my friends and family. I want to have a little free time. I want to go to career industry conferences and get to know my wonderful colleagues.

I will miss Wausau Whitewater, this is the end of an era, but I have a new world ahead and I am so excited. I’ll keep you posted on how this new career journey of mine goes.

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on from your existing position? I can help you find a new career! To find out how, Click here!

End of an Era, New World Ahead


  1. Micki on December 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Juie, I understand how hard this must have been for you. Hopefully, you will now be able to achieve those goals of yours.

    You go girl! Best wishes for this new chapter in the book you call your LIFE!

  2. Nora on December 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Best wishes on your new life path Julie! Words cannot express how much we will miss you at the park. You know where to find us 🙂 We’ll have to get together when I’m in town! I know whatever you do you’ll shine!

  3. Davina on December 14, 2009 at 2:51 am

    I feel excited for you! This is the start of yet another adventure… I can feel it. I believe the hardest part is coming to and accepting such a decision. You’re through to the other side now 🙂

  4. Mohammed Al-Taee, PMP on December 14, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Wish you all the best Julie.

    I spent most of my life in the water 😀 I was a free style national champion.

    Sometimes life moving without having the ability to make changes. You don’t have fair options all the time so having another choice like you will make decision easy for change. In my case, waiting is a choice now.


  5. Dawn Bugni on December 14, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Julie –

    Having gone through some major decision-making myself recently, I know how how difficult it is to let go of something that was such an important part of your life for so many years. Change is never easy. Here’s wishing you much wonderfulness as you travel down this exciting, new path.

  6. Julie on December 14, 2009 at 6:51 am

    You’re right, Davina, when I first realized it was time, I did nothing but cry for a day. The loss of so many things I love was incredibly hard but so is the physical stamina I need to keep on at the pace of 15-16 hour days 7 days a week to try to balance all of Wausau Whitewater, Design Resumes, my house, family, and then there is no downtime for Julie unless I am too tired to move. I’ll be visiting your blog more now to see what you are up to!

  7. Julie on December 14, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Thanks, Dawn, and thanks for being the wonderful friend and colleague that you are! I look forward to many more wonderful conversations. Now that I have some options, I am hoping travel will become one of them and I will be able to occasionally leave Wausau to meet my friends and colleagues in person. 14 years without a vacation (even in town) is a little long.

  8. Dan on December 14, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Congrats on taking control of your life again! I had no idea you were “everything” at Wausau Whitewater. Oh, and I hear that vacationing in a tropical climate while Wausau suffers negative temps does wonders for the soul.

  9. Jason Alba on December 14, 2009 at 9:47 am

    This is WW’s loss, although they will do fine without you… what a terrific opportunity for you to move forward and do new stuff. You have touched many lives and I’m sure you’ll touch many more as you focus on your business – you’ll do great Julie!

  10. Bryan on December 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Julie – So happy to hear that your able to focus on yourself and your business. You’ve done so much for so many for so long that you definitely deserve to devote some time to your own dreams and joys. We’ll miss you at sign-in, but look forward to seeing you down by (or on???) the water! Best of luck with the new plan!

  11. TJ on December 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm


    No doubt you deliberated long and deeply to think about all of the options, and implications. Most importantly is what is the best path for Julie.

    Congratulations on taking the next steps in the journey of your life. Remember to find time to paddle, ride and walk with Teddy.

    It’s been a real pleasure to get to know you as a friend and professional. You’ll do well. Focus on your passion, and Crush It!


  12. Julie on December 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks, TJ! It was a 2 year decision-making process with some agonizing moments but I realize that sometimes the best solution is a new solution, letting both my life have some new choices and Wausau Whitewater has an opportunity to do things differently if they chose.

  13. Nora on December 15, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I’ll plan on going to Bear Paw with you. Some warm summer day when Wausau has a one day release we can make it a two day weekend by extending it to Bear Paw. I will be coming your way a few times this winter so I’m going to be sure to make time for coffee or lunch. I would LOVE to be there for your first kayaking session!

  14. Julie on December 18, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Mati, we have had so many disconnects this year, I am looking forward to finishing our project and getting to know you much better in 2010 and always look forward to turning my online friends into real life visits!

  15. Mathew A. Koeneker on December 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Change is indeed scary as I well know. Congrats! Way to take charge and make some great changes. You are a paddler at heart and soon will be in person as well. I will get up there some time and kayak with you.

    All the best,
    Mati 🙂

  16. Rosa Vargas on February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    It takes courage to go after your dreams and execute your goals! Well done, Julie

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