Meet Julia Reilly

Julia says hello to a baby alpaca during a trip to Peru.

Julia says hello to a baby alpaca during a trip to Peru in 2017.

Group Health Foundation welcomes Julia Reilly, our new investment associate. As part of the team that is building the Foundation’s investment portfolio from the ground up, Julia will support the sourcing, due diligence, and monitoring of the Foundation’s investments in both public and private markets.

A graduate of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Julianne honed her finance skills at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. After a few years, she then joined the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. It was there Julianne found the career she envisioned herself doing in the future.

“Truthfully, I didn’t have a deep passion for finance or markets that drove me. My first job out of college was practical. It was a good experience, but after two years in the corporate world, I was feeling lost,” said Julia. “When I saw the opportunity at the Smithsonian, I thought ‘how cool.’ It was just a really interesting place to work.”

Having previously worked at two large organizations, Julia noted that it’s easy for an investment team to feel distant from the effects of their work. In her first week at Group Health Foundation, Julia is already seeing the impact of her day-to-day role in real time—and she doesn’t take the opportunity lightly.

“It’s pretty niche: investment offices for endowments and foundations. In one way, it’s a small world to break into, and I’m really lucky to have that first experience at the Smithsonian and to take the next step at Group Health Foundation while adding some value right away.”

For Julia, this new venture is also a kind of homecoming. Despite extensive experience in the other Washington, she has roots in Washington State. Julia grew up in Renton and went to high school in Covington. Her parents grew up in Yakima and Bellevue. She intuitively understands the way geography affects health disparities but is eager to learn more about what that means for the lived experience of everyday Washingtonians.

“At a high level, I understand dilemmas like lack of coverage or healthcare costs. I can read an article to wrap my mind around it, but if you don’t necessarily have a personal tie to it, if you don’t know someone who’s gone through it, it can be hard to connect.” Julia said, “I’m hoping in this role to better understand how people are impacted on a day-to-day basis.”

A self-described systems thinker, Julia is driven by curiosity to learn how and why things are the way they are. “I come at things from the perspective of wanting to learn more and understand why people think the way they do. I find human behavior endlessly interesting.”

Julia is glad to be back in the state and close to her family. When she’s not structuring and executing convertible securities, you can find her outdoors or feeding her curiosity with a good nonfiction book or documentary. She looks forward to the day she can once again travel internationally.