Rising Stars Henline

Rising Stars winner Julie Henline, client relationships director, Gensler.

Peter Thomson, River Valley Media

For Julie Henline, being a change agent is inexorably linked to her ability to be curious.

“I had the good fortune of landing with an organization early on whose guiding principles center around empowerment, curiosity, growth and collaboration,” Henline, client relationship director at Gensler, said. “In 17 years, I’ve had countless roles within the organization — most of which have been self-selected by myself and my incessantly curious personality.”

Finding her niche, or rather niches, in a global design firm, one that focuses on the full cycle of build environments, requires the ability to listen.

“Making sure the voice of the client is in everything we do,” she said.

It was listening to her own inner voice that got her where she is, which started when she earned a degree in industrial organizational psychology from Minnesota State University at Mankato.

“Nobody knew what that was,” Henline said. “I call it the philosophy of work.”

And, judging from her ambitious resume, Henline has mastered the sometimes slippery slope of professional, intelligent curiosity.

The answer, at least in large part, seems to be the ability of bringing the right people together to do great work.

“Julie’s strength in bringing together people through strategic planning is what makes her a ‘Rising Star’ in our community,” said Robin Moses, executive director of Downtown Mainstreet Inc. and one of two who nominated her for Rising Stars Under 40.

Joan Meyers, who also sent in a nomination, said: “I could nominate Julie Henline as a Rising Star with just four words: Julie gets it done.”

Moses had plenty of praise.

“Julie is an active member of Downtown Mainstreet Inc., starting out as a member of our design committee,” Moses said. “She rose to lead that committee as chair and is currently a member of our board of directors. This year, Julie will be named our volunteer of the year at our annual awards meeting. As the chair of our design committee, Julie has led our organization in new initiatives. The development of the Elevate Façade grant program to award incentive grants to properties to improve and restore their buildings to their historical integrity, a Façade Squad to identify buildings within the downtown district that need attention, and initiatives to support the physical improvement of our downtown environment. In addition, Julie is a member of our Downtown Parking Task Force and addresses all challenges with a strategic and positive approach.”

Henline has also led a presentation on “Raising the Bar on Design” at DMI’s 2016 Summer Roundtable, the 7 Rivers Alliance “Trends in Urban Planning and Development” event, and is a member of the city of La Crosse’s Transportation Demand Planning subcommittee. She brought together the La Crosse health community for the “Shaping Healthy Communities Think Tank,” as well.

She’s also been appointed to the North Central Region Advance Committee, and led Gensler in location strategy, due diligence, negotiations and design strategy for its new downtown offices in Belle Square. It’s only a taste of her long list of accomplishments.

“Julie really shines at complex, collaborative ‘big picture’ projects,” Meyers said. “One of the most visible examples of this was the rebranding of our core business offering, Gensler’s Workplace Information Solutions Platform. With an eye on industry trends and our evolving market space, Julie’s strategic assessment and advocacy was a driving force behind our new branding initiative. She pulled together the right team, proposed the right process, took all the right steps to ensure a successful launch. Rebranding isn’t an overnight process, but Julie got it done.”

Reflecting on what makes her most proud, Henline highlighted her efforts at Gensler, but she also looked closer to home.

“My kids,” Henline said. “They are smart and turning out to be thoughtful, kind and helpful individuals, despite me being a working, traveling mom.”

“Julie really shines at complex, collaborative ‘big picture’ projects.” Joan Meyers, nominator
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