In high school and college, Julie Kazdin worked retail at her family’s pool business, Kazdin Pools & Spas. After graduating from Bryan University with a bachelor’s in business administration, she took a stab at the corporate world, with the dream of climbing the ladder to become an executive of a Fortune 500 company.
“Unfortunately, I learned quickly that working for someone else called my conscience into question more times than I’d like to admit,” Kazdin says.
She moved back to Rhode Island and in 2005 became inventory manager at the family company. Her dream played out differently than Kazdin planned, but she still climbed the corporate ladder. Now, as the company’s vice president, she says, “[Working here,] I can have a clear conscience. Most importantly, I can sleep at night knowing I did what was right, and teach my daughter that, above all, you do what is right.”
Involvement in the industry is also important to Kazdin. She will continue to volunteer at the local, regional and national level as long as her expertise is needed, she says, and hopes to teach to wider audiences and expand the professionalism of the industry. A top priority, she says, is to help develop long-standing educational and mentorship programs to bring new people into the industry “and keep it thriving with new ideas.”