2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Julie Walker
Programs: ABCs of Small Business
Program Year: 2007
Business Description: Connecting people to nature through active and educational outdoor programs.
Julie Walker sees herself more as a wood elf than an entrepreneur.
She grew up loving the outdoors and her degree from the University of Calgary focusing on outdoor pursuits was a natural fit. After more than a decade in the field, she realized she was not so much a guide as an interpreter. What mattered to her wasn’t conquering the next peak;
it was helping people develop a meaningful relationship with the natural world. When she started her own company in 1998, she wanted to nurture that relationship in herself and in others.
When her first company dissolved after three years, Julie began experimenting. She received permission from a Nakoda elder to lead hikes to sacred places, led women’s rights-of-passage retreats and helped form a women’s business consortium called Dames on the Range. All her programs focus on the wilderness near her home, in the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.
When she looked for entrepreneurial training four years later, Momentum’s program was perfect for her. She learned the language and skills required to be an entrepreneur, and yet it was understood that her most valuable tool was her bushcraft. She already knew how to build a container for her clients to experience the wilderness safely. Momentum taught her the skills to
build a container for her business to prosper.
These days Julie teaches skiing and snowshoeing in winter but is best known for her hiking and wild foraging programs. She offers public and private hikes, helps translate the natural world for artists, teaches chefs about wild edibles and instructs Grade 7 outdoor curriculum. She has recently hired two young people equally passionate about the wild world, and is thinking about
starting an outdoor school and a wild food garden.
Julie lives her values and nurtures her soul while she pays her bills and builds her savings. That’s what you get when a wood elf runs a business.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.