Jules sprints her way to better coworker connections
Julie (Jules) Carman has always been a runner, like good enough to earn a Track & Field scholarship to Cal for running 800’s kind of runner. There are things she learned running that carry over directly to her career, things that she feels you can’t get anywhere else: resilience, mental strength, proper mindset and discipline. Running also made Jules comfortable being uncomfortable, allowing her to easily mold to new situations and get to the next level.
In this episode, we talk about how things in life are much bigger than work, but it’s sometimes difficult to keep that perspective. And it’s a very slippery slope once you lose focus on the passions that truly drive you. Professionalism will tell you to work more and do those passions less, making them dormant and eventually extinct altogether.
Julie Carman works as the Senior Director, Global Accounting and Consulting Segment at Intapp in the San Francisco Bay Area.
She graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1986 with a degree in Business and Communication
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JOHN. I first met this week’s guest, Jules Carman, when I was the opening keynote at last year’s Boomer Consulting Summit in Kansas City. Between the two of us I think we had more laughs than are allowed at any conference, let alone an accounting conference. Jules graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Business and Communication and has spent her career in technology that serves the accounting and now legal field. She is currently is a senior director with Intap. So Jules I know this episode is going to be crazy nuts, but first let’s try to be serious for just a second and tell everyone how you got into this technology world to begin with.
JULES. I came from the technology side, I’ve been doing technology in the accounting industry specifically for the last decade, maybe a little less. It’s been really fun, the nice thing about being in technology for thirty years is just really seeing the constant transformation year after year. You know I’m in the thick of Silicon Valley and always have been. The great thing about taking the accounting industry to this next generation of all the buzz words, digital office, firm of the future, and all that kind of jazz, is just really meeting the demands of how these firms just need to capitalize on what they’re really good at, and then using technology to enhance the assets that they have and can offer their clients.
That’s really fun but as we talked in the past, like technology, which is always transforming, so is accounting, being able to be a part of that is really fun for me primarily because I’m not a CPA and I can’t add 2 + 2. I remember going to a workshop once when I first started in this industry and I’m like, honestly you guys, I’m not kidding, I really appreciate you because I will give you whatever money you need to do the books because I’m just not doing it, I’m just not going to.
JOHN. You couldn’t pay me enough to do what you guys do, so God bless you.
JULES. Really what they’re doing is keeping me out of jail, because if I did there is no way that I would be paying my taxes and the IRS would be after me.
JOHN. Right, or the right amount. That’s so awesome. Probably, on the technology side, you’re probably driving some of that change even, sort of almost making it happen.
JULES. It is really cool. Every time I think I know, I’m very confident on the technology side, I’ve got this accounting stuff my sister who’s a controller is like, no you don’t, but you’re really good at faking stuff. You always have been good at faking stuff, so go for it. I think, I got this! Then I’ll talk to Gary Boomer and I’m like, oh cripe, I don’t know anything.
JOHN. The secret to that is just don’t talk to Gary Boomer.
JULES. Yeah, no kidding.
JOHN. That’s the secret.
JULES. Stop talking to all these thought leaders. Oh God, another thought leader, do I have to talk to you?
JOHN. Quit raining on my parade! Everything was fine over here in Camp Jules until you had to come in.
JULES. Go back to Washington and whatever lobbies you need, or whatever.
JULES. Knock yourself out.
JOHN. With all your fancy pantsness. I’m sure that keeps you super duper busy, and I know that you love being around all that stuff, but at some point you just need a release and to get away. So what sort of passion and hobby do you like to do?
JULES. Here’s the interesting thing. My daily reality at work is just constantly tacking with my internal customers, all the Intap people. Accounting is a new segment to Intap so I feel like I have this whole internal customer that I need to educate, which is really fun, it can be challenging. It’s like, come on, let’s keep up. Let’s look up what does public accounting mean. It’s in the book actually. Then I love doing the sites as the accounting firms, I love my strategic relationships with folks like the Boomers. I go home and I’m exhausted because I’m actually an introvert. I can spend, if my family is off on a camping trip or something for whatever, it’s not often, but if I’m ever home by myself for a couple of days I can go for a day and not talk to anybody and be perfectly content. That’s how I recharge my batteries.
I think it speaks to the extracurricular activities. I’ve been a runner since I was 13, I ran through high school, I got myself into Cal because of running, certainly not the grades. To this day I’m just so grateful that I can still run. I did not get the knee problems or anything, I mean I had some injuries and stuff but I can still run if I don’t go over 30 miles. I don’t race anymore, anything like that, but it’s just such a medication, it’s such a release, it’s where I work everything out. What I’ve actually, and you and I have talked about this a little bit, really keeping track of not letting go of your other hobbies. It can get kind of tricky when you have a family or whatever, you can make up any excuse, but I’m a daughter of an artist, so I really spent a lot more time going back to the sketching and painting, I have a little easel and stuff. If you look at the things that I like to do, they are very solitary. It’s really how I recharge my batteries.
JOHN. All day long you’re around so many people.
JULES. Some of our friends, like you said, that are into theater, that’s their release. To me it’s just like, I feel like I’m in theater everyday at work.
JOHN. Exactly, I’m now on, I have to try here, this is exhausting.
JULES. I’ll be working through a presentation or something, and that’s just a lot of energy. At the end of the day it’s just like, get me out of here, I hate people, just let me go home.
JOHN. I have the same thing, exactly.
JULES. I really don’t hate them, you know what I’m saying.
JOHN. Absolutely. You just need to get away and recharge, don’t turn the TV on, and just be in quiet. It’s totally fine to be like that. That’s really interesting. So you’re a daughter of an artist? That’s cool.
JULES. My dad passed years and years ago, but he was one of those really Italian, very complex, the whole stereotypical artist that you would think when you see documentaries on crazy Italian artists, he was like that. It was before the whole graphic computer art. He was an illustrator, he did a lot of sculpture, he did a lot of welding sculpture, water colors, oils, all that stuff. He was a free lancer for a really long time. Oh my gosh, I can’t even believe sometimes, I have no idea how we even did it because we had this huge family. I grew up in Wisconsin, I have a ton of brothers and a sister, and it’s just like, oh my gosh, how did we live?
JOHN. I mean, it is amazing. I think, when you’re little you think that adults know everything and they’re all whatever. Then when you become it you’re like, did they also not know what I don’t know? They were really good at faking it. How did they make this all happen?
JULES. They’re all a bunch of dummies.
JOHN. It’s scary, it’s so scary when you think about it.
JULES. But the difference now is that we have those books that help us be dummies. We’ve got a lot of resources now.
JOHN. And Google. So thank you very much for that.
JULES. Yeah, thank you, thank God.
JOHN. So you grew up in Wisconsin and you were a runner. Then you get a scholarship to Cal?
JULES. The weather is perfect for running.
JOHN. In Wisconsin, exactly. They called it snowshoeing, but either way it was all good.
JULES. Yeah, whatever, don’t get tripped up on semantics. So it was those days where the dry leap, technology and the material wasn’t quite there yet. I had a hundred pairs of Champion sweats on and I had running shoes.
JOHN. And those sweatpants weighed like ten pounds each.
JULES. Yeah, people thought I was thin because of running and it’s the thirty pounds of material I had to carry.
JOHN. Exactly. The Kevlar sweatsuit.
JULES. And then the snow melting on you. That got me out of Wisconsin and I ended up in California because I went to Cal. When I was at Cal I was in business classes and we had some folks come in to do some case studies from technology companies, one was IBM, and this gal came in and started telling us about technology and at that time it was all about the hard drives. They were selling technology to the Raytheon, Lockheed, those kinds of exciting companies. She said, we’re looking for interns. I just jumped on it, and it wasn’t because of the technology, it was that at the time I knew if I wanted to go the business track that the most amount of money I would make would be in the technology sector versus retail, or something. I was all about making money because I came from this huge family and I had to wear all these hand me downs. I would have to beg Santa Claus every year for like a new pair of Levis. I thought, well now I can buy all the designer shoes and whatever that I want. That’s how I ended up in technology.
So I worked at IBM in San Francisco and I got hired on. From there I could have migrated down to what we call the peninsula area, which is the Silicon Valley . There’s not really a silicon valley, and people will come here and say, take me to the silicon valley. I’m like, OK, well we’re on 101 highway, this is it.
JOHN. This is what you get. This isn’t really a valley, what’s going on here.
JULES. Yeah, it’s not a valley, and there’s not really a sign. It’s even more so for people visiting from other countries, like, what? And it’s like, OK, let me show them where the Facebook building is.
JOHN. Then you tell them there’s no Napa Valley either and blow their mind, even though there really is. Then it’s like, wait, what, is anything real anymore?
JULES. So I ended up staying in technology, but it’s always been very interesting because it has always been different vertical markets. So what I loved about is the guts of technology, and then when I was always in sort of that partnership channel development area it allowed me to work with these companies in different vertical markets. At the time you would really learn the operations of the company and how things function, because that’s how you would do the gap analysis and figure out how can I streamline some of these processes for them? Because that would equate to net profit growth. in order to do that you had to learn the operating function of these companies, and it was fascinating. Everything from supply chains to how they get product out the door, or whatever. When ecommerce hit, that’s when it got to be just a blast, because then it just translated everything to the everyday person. So technology wasn’t so esoteric, people would actually understand the advertisements at the Super Bowl. Early on we would do, oh Super Bowl ads with some operating system, and they’re like, whatever.
JOHN. I don’t know.
JULES. Wait, I hope they come out with a Budweiser commercial.
JOHN. I think we use that at work, I’m not sure.
JULES. It never made any sense. Then, when the whole ecommerce kicked in and you could shop online. I can still remember people who were like, I’m never going to buy my underwear online.
JOHN. Yeah you will, you’re going to buy everything online.
JULES. Yeah you are. Right now technology has made it so easy for us that we’re busier than ever and we can’t even get to the store.
JOHN. Yeah, unfortunately that’s true, it’s created its own monster.
JULES. Be careful of the electronic collar.
JOHN. I think that’s so cool, so in your running days and even after, what were some of the cooler moments that you had maybe running at Cal or running after? Running marathons? What did you enjoy most?
JULES. I have done a couple, but I was more of an 800 runner number, and a miler. That’s what I really, really loved. I did cross country, and so then you would have to run farther. It was pretty good, but I actually feel like I kind of got a little bit better when I was racing after college. The coaching was OK, the coaching was so different. We were kind of at first title 9, women, which is great. You look at what they have today and you’re like, oh my gosh. I’m talking about runners who get no money still, but really the equipment, the coaching, understanding women athletes, women’s health, all that kind of stuff. It’s wonderful to see. There is something that you get from sports that you can not get anywhere else, you can’t get it in text books, you can’t get it in your CPA training class, there is just this mindset of strength, resilience, at least that’s what it had for me. Especially for a woman you gain this discipline and characteristic that I never would have gotten, even with four or five brothers throwing me down the stairs. You get this kind of toughness, then you go to Cal and get another kind of toughness because it’s so diverse and crazy, and then you’re an athlete.
So as I sit here today, and I’m learning myself a new company six months ago. There will be times when you’re dealing with whatever challenge and I’ll smile, but inside myself I’m going, yeah dude, I’m going to beat you to the line even if I spit up blood.
JOHN. Kicking and screaming and clawing.
JULES. Yeah, because, I’m going to win, I’m going to dominate the world, and dance circles around you thank you very much. But I’m going to say it all with a smile. That’s what’s going on inside me, and that kind of grit I got from sports. The other thing that was really valuable is that I had this awesome, awesome cross country coach when I was in high school. He’s the one, I can still hear his voice in my head, that always said, hey, Jules, in the end make sure you take the high road, you be the better person, you be that higher level of integrity, you know, all those really good values that I wish and pray I could exercise everyday. That kind of coaching, that kind of guidance, it’s still with me years later.
JOHN. That’s so great. Like you said, you can’t get it from anywhere else, you’re doing the sport.
JULES. I think the other thing is in terms of, I know I joke around about running and being a good person is all that I have, but it’s really true. It also helps you, you become very reasonably accepting. I think because of being an athlete there is not a lot of judgment, or there’s more of a stepping back and assessing without judgment, and just being that good person. Somewhere along the line after everything you’ve gone through, injuries and training, especially when you’re a runner a lot of that training you’re out there at 5 in the morning. No one’s out there, no one knows you’re doing that, and that’s not why you’re doing that. You’re not doing that for the medal or whatever, you’re doing it for that fulfillment. With all that discipline it does, or it should and I hope it does for other people, it does have an impact on being a better person. there are things that are bigger, staying humble and stuff. That’s also something that translates to today. What I love about working with a lot of my buddies in the industry, the folks that do what I do but for different companies, the accounting firms, the thought leaders, there’s always so much to learn and it’s just so much fun. You feel like there’s always something new, that goes back to my initial statement that I’m so glad I picked technology and not toilet paper.
JOHN. It’s being open to that. There’s new stuff happening, there’s all these things going on, but if you’re only worried about your job and doing your job all the time, then you’re not going to see these other things because your head is down. You’re not going to see these other things, these great things that are happening around you. It’s not being totally consumed in your job. I think that’s great how you said there’s bigger things happening, and that’s really cool not only from a work perspective, but also from a life perspective. So if something doesn’t go exactly the way you want it today, you know what? The sun will come up tomorrow, it will be alright type of a thing, we’ll work hard and get it back next week.
JULES. I think the other thing that I’ve learned too is that things don’t go the way you anticipate, the way you want, or whatever, it’s like, maybe it’s not supposed to. That’s also part of a learning, and you just have to believe that if you’re not uncomfortable, which running has made me comfortable being uncomfortable, you’re probably not going to the next level whether it’s physically, mentally, or intellectually. You know that crazy people will challenge you on that every day. You work with these wackos in every organization, so you’re always going to have to deal with that. I can go to the store and deal with wackos, it’s like, dude, you’re working the cash register, do we have to make this political?
JOHN. Calm down everybody.
JULES. Here’s my dollar.
JOHN. So do you talk about running at work, do your coworkers know this about you? That you ran for Cal and things like that?
JULES. Some people do. It will come up. Recently, over the summer, and this has never happened to me so it’s kind of funny that you asked the question. Recently I was on a run and I stepped on an uneven surface on a trail and I rolled my foot. I’m like, yeah, whatever, it didn’t really hurt that much. I was like, meh, kinda strained it, whatever. So it’s on a Friday. It got really puffy, but I had fractured my bone and I didn’t know what that felt like, because I’d never fractured a little bone in my foot. I thought, well I don’t have that touch it in one spot and you hit the ceiling kind of feeling. I was like, eh, kind of feels like a bad bruise. Monday I was like, peace of mind I should probably make sure it’s OK, because you have all those little bones in your feet. I go to the doctor, and first you have to go to your primary, then I got to get referred. You’re just like, oh god, can I get an xray while I’m still alive? How about that?
JOHN. Isn’t there an app for this? Come on.
JULES. Thank you health care system. So I go down to the lab and the technician is awesome, she’s like, you know, I want to let you know, before she even took the xray Sometimes it’s a faster healing process if you break the bone versus a really bad sprain. I was like, OK, I kinda get that, but in the end I really don’t have time for this. So can you take this because I don’t have time for things to be broken.
JOHN. Because you hadn’t been running your good person side hadn’t come out yet.
JULES. Fabulous July was coming out. She called me July, anyway. She take the xray and goes around the corner into the little room to look at it. She literally goes in there for, I swear I don’t even know if it was two seconds, she looks at the screen and goes, are you going home or do we need to send you back up to the doctors office. I’m like, well I was just going to go home because it’s probably just a bad bruise. She’s like, you’re going upstairs. I’m like, oh my gosh, here we go. They send me to the specialist. Getting back to work, I had to wear this boot, which is like really not matching the Jimmy Choo’s, can I just tell you that? I’m like, OK, well at least it’s a nice gray color, you know. So that prompted, what did you do? And of course I didn’t say that, because I’m a runner and all that. I was like, well I was kicking some Intap ass and I broke my toe.
JOHN. I was kicking so hard this is what happened.
JULES. So a lot of people found out that I was a runner, because of the boot. It was also kind of nice because I was still sort of new to the company, so it gave other people comfort to come up to me and talk to me, because I’m so intimidating. That’s when some of the stories come out, but I think the other thing, and you’ll like this John because I know that you’re a fan. You know, being from Wisconsin, and I was born in Wisconsin, when you’re born in Wisconsin they put the Green Bay Packers sperm in your hepatitis b shot.
JULES. You become this fanatic.
JOHN. You can’t help it, it’s not your fault.
JULES. So I had people come up to me and talk to me about running and tell me how good they are. Then, I have other people in the company that love talking football. That’s another extracurricular. I don’t play football because I’m a little to sizable for that.
JOHN. There aren’t enough weights in the weight room for me right now.
JULES. The thing is, that leads to, even though you don’t have to play it, but that leads to, here’s what I did over the weekend, I’m running, my children are going surfing, and I’m going to try surfing. So it leads to conversations about other things in your life that you do besides kicking Intap ass.
JOHN. Absolutely. I think that’s such a great example, and I think that’s really interesting how you started the new job, then you had the boot, and it just made people more comfortable to come up and talk to you, get to know you as a person, as a coworker. Now even if they know you as Boot Jules, whatever, at least they know you.
JULES. it’s really funny because I was getting an email from one gal, and she’s like, how’s the das boot, have you moved to the das shoe yet? Then I got another email, this is another thing that comes up. So because of the conversation about running, one of my managing sales directors, she is also an ex college athlete, she played soccer for Sanford, she’s been with Intap for many, many years, moves over to our segment, and it was like this instant, OK you’re my sister. It’s like, yeah, you’re a college athlete, I get you. It was this instant bond. She wrote me and was like, how’s the peg?
JOHN. The peg, right, pirate Jules. I love it.
JULES. It was just like, I got all excited because I moved from the boot to the shoe, and I was like, take a selfie of my foot. She was like, oh my gosh, you have manicured toes. It escalated through this whole thing, but it starts with being more than a bean counter.
JOHN. I got to believe that creates a better atmosphere to want to do work in.
JULES. I think that a majority of people, it’s hard to assess, am I an approachable person or not? I think I am because that’s life. People, they don’t know you and the majority of the people, you know how it is John when we go to these conferences, they don’t come up and introduce themselves if they don’t know you, they would rather wait for someone to come to them. I’m just like, I don’t do that, and I’m not uncomfortable doing that. It does exhaust me so that after work I do go home and go, oh thank God I don’t have to talk to anybody. So I think that conversations that are not about work, they start realizing, wow, she’s a real approachable person. I’m more comfortable talking with Jules because I can ask her how’s the boot, it gives me an excuse to come up and talk with her. After breaking the ice barrier, you’re best coworkers.
Yesterday I came into work and there were so many people talking to me about different things that had nothing to do with work, I’m like, I have to stay home on Wednesdays so I can get my deliverables done, because people talk to me for three hours. It’s like, oh gosh, the hours went by and I have nothing done.
JOHN. This has been really, really great and chock full ofreally good stuff Jules. I know that we’ve hung out, but my rules are we have 17 rapid fire questions to really get to know you, to see if you really are a good person for me.
#1 Sudoku or Crossword puzzle
JULES. Crossword puzzle
JOHN. I figured, numbers are not your thing. Do you have a favorite color?
JOHN. OK, black, there we go. That’s happy Jules. Do you have a least favorite color?
JULES. Kinda like that puke yellow.
JOHN. Yeah, like a mustard, puke yellow. That’s pretty gross. Here’s an easy one for you, favorite adult beverage?
JULES. Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley.
JOHN. Oh, fancy! Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
JULES. Not really.
JOHN. How about a favorite comedian?
JULES. I really love… John, you’re my favorite comedian.
JOHN. Good save, good save, but really what were you going to say?
JULES. Here’s the problem with that, there’s too many so it’s hard to say one.
JOHN. There are too many. How about cats or dogs?
JOHN. Star Wars or Star Trek?
JULES. Oh God! Jane Austin.
JULES. Mr. Darcy.
JOHN. There you go. How about PC or Mac?
JULES. I’m a Mac.
JOHN. So if you’re using a PC mouse, right click or left click?
JULES. I don’t know, right I guess.
JOHN. Just a silly question. You’re pretty creative, that’s good. What did you have for breakfast?
JULES. I’m not a big breakfast person, but I have to take my vitamins with those little probiotics thing, because a middle age woman, the bone density is going to melt off if I don’t.
JOHN. Looks like all that product drinking advertising is working on you. do you have a favorite TV show of all time?
JOHN. Yeah! That’s a solid answer.
JULES. Oh my god, the writing. it’s very good, very good.
JOHN. Since you’re int he technology side, zeros or ones?
JULES. I’ll pick seven.
JOHN. Seven, OK, alright, there we go. My next question was going to be what’s your favorite number?
JOHN. Why is that?
JULES. My favorite men in my life always said 23 as their numbers, including my grandfather.
JOHN. Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?
JULES. Diamonds. Well, how many?
JOHN. How many diamonds?
JOHN. This is how you get to know Jules everybody. This is how you should interview at Intap, you get to know somebody everybody. How about a movie that makes you cry?
JULES. Here’s the deal, maybe too long of an answer. Philadelphia, but it wasn’t the movie so much it was the Neil Young Philadelphia songs.
JOHN. OK, wow, yeah that’s powerful. That’s a good answer though. Two more! Pens or pencils?
JULES. Pencils! All the way! Never a pen. I love pencils.
JOHN. Wow. Look at you old school.
JULES. I love pencils.
JOHN. The last one, the favorite thing you own or favorite thing you have?
JOHN. Whatever you’d like to answer. Favorite thing you own.
JULES. Well I own my husband.
JOHN. Sadly I think he would not argue with that.
JULES. He’s my favorite. Materialistically, it’s probably my wedding ring.
JOHN. That’s nice, very cool. That’s so powerful, like really, really cool. Thank you Jules so much for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
JULES. Easy peasy, how much fun is that?