Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Julia Robinson, Sustainability Program Manager at Atlassian.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

As a founding member of Atlassian’s Sustainability Team, I work on projects that deliver measurable, meaningful impact across the issue areas that we’ve prioritized as a company – climate change, human rights, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I lead our sustainability reporting strategy and human rights and ethics focus area.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

I’ve always looked for roles where I’m trying to change the status quo or work within systems to change them for the better. I started my career in women’s empowerment and global health in Sierra Leone and South Africa, before coming back to the United States to work on corporate sustainability and responsibility. I’ve done a lot of searching in my career! Every job I’ve had has helped me hone my purpose and my “theory of change” – basically how I want to make a difference in my small corner of the world.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

My privilege has given me access to opportunities that absolutely helped me advance my career. So, I don’t want to imply that one lucky move got me where I am today. The decision to join a tech company after only working at nonprofits very much felt like a leap of faith – one that I’m glad I made! It’s given me the opportunity to learn about entirely new ways of working and thinking, in addition to being able to make a tangible difference within and beyond my organization.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

It’s OK to ask for help – whether that’s time off, seeking out therapy, or support from a loved one or colleague.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

As a white, cis-gendered woman in sustainability and tech, the challenge is always asking whether what I’m doing or how I’m going about things is holding up systems and structures that continue to perpetuate discrimination, bias, and inequity against BIPOC and people of under-represented identities. This is an ongoing conversation I have with myself (and others!).

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?

For me, mentorship is about an exchange, and it comes in many forms. I learn from peers, from people I mentor, from leaders and managers, and from loved ones.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Don’t be afraid to spend some time searching for what gives you meaning and purpose. Also, set up strong work/life boundaries – once you get into the “grind culture” mindset, it’s really hard to stop.

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

Companies should look at the data first to understand where the issues are. Likely what’s required is going to be deep structural shifts, and it might not be something that immediately feels good or can be turned into a positive news story. And companies need to challenge themselves to think intersectionally. It isn’t enough to only advance the careers of cis-gendered white women.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

I’d like to keep seeking out joy and intention in both my career and my personal life.

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

Although I get a lot out of my job, I also have volunteered for political campaigns and causes, especially in the past four years or so. Lots of phone banking, door knocking (when that was safe to do!), and other forms of organizing to get out the vote. I think civic engagement is a vital responsibility. A lot of people undervalue how much of a difference it can have.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

Atlassian is a founding member of Pledge 1%, and it was one of the top reasons I joined the company. I’m really proud of the contributions of the Atlassian Foundation and our employees.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I love cooking, and that’s been a great hobby to pick back up in the past year of social distancing and sheltering in place.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

I just finished Interior Chinatown by Charles Wu. It was one of the most inventive novels I’ve read in a while.

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

Back to the work/life boundaries thing – I make a phone call, usually to my dad, at the end of every work day. This gives me a hard stop to shut down the laptop, and it means I get to hear how he’s doing. It’s something I’d like to continue once we’re past the pandemic.