Loyola University Chicago

The President’s Medallion

Julie B. Breckenfelder

Julie B. Breckenfelder

In the classroom, Julie Breckenfelder is a cut above. Her professors often share her final projects with future students to show them what a well-polished and complete analysis should look like.

And she takes that same commitment to excellence wherever she goes. Whether it’s assisting with a Montessori school program, coaching children’s soccer, or working with her colleagues at Upshot, Breckenfelder selflessly gives of her time and talent.

Here, she talks about how her co-workers inspire her every day, why volunteering has changed her perspective on life, and where she goes when she wants to unwind.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?

I’d have to say it’s an open house I attended in the spring. For months, I was on the hunt for an MBA program but couldn’t find one that I liked. Finally, I attended an open house at Quinlan where a panel of students and faculty spoke candidly about the curriculum. How refreshing—no fluff! I’ll never forget walking out the door that night. Erik, my husband, looked at me, I looked at him and we both smiled—I’d finally found the MBA program that would “prepare me to live an extraordinary life.”

Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.

I’m very lucky to have several mentors that I get to see every day at Upshot. Each morning I walk into a dynamic workplace and interact with a community of empowered colleagues who are smart, creative, driven and fun loving. We demand the best of each other to develop clever ideas and execute award-winning marketing campaigns—and we have a truly great time doing it.

Tell us about your volunteer/service work and what it means to you.

My volunteer and service work profoundly impacts my perspective on life.  Whatever my role—worker, coach, or mentor—I always find myself walking away with more than I could give. Every experience has impacted my perspective for very different reasons and I’m grateful to all those that have touched my life during these opportunities of service.

Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their education?

You get out only as much as you put in. Go the extra mile. Put in extra effort. I’m a firm believer that you create your own luck. Work hard, work smart, and you’ll set yourself up for success.

What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

I hope to be learning. Learning keeps life interesting and challenging, and it always seems to open new doors in all aspects of life—personal, professional, and spiritual.

What’s your favorite spot in Chicago?

Lake Michigan in the summertime. It takes me to a vacation mentality every weekend for about three months—it soothes all my woes and clears my mind. And for the other nine months of the year, my favorite spot is in the kitchen, chopping veggies and attempting new recipes with my husband.

Any tips on how to de-stress during finals?

Prepare and smile.  Proper preparation is the key to reducing stress. And smiling helps you keep a sense of humor and maintain a good vibe. Go ahead, try it!