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  • Writer's pictureMark Crocker

The Adventure of Leadership - Julie Angus

Julie Angus is best known for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean during some particularly vicious hurricanes. After 3 days locked down in a berth the size of a dining room table they weathered the storm and completed their epic journey. Julie believes the power of endurance is vital to effective leadership.

An adventurer and entrepreneurs, Julie is a motivational speaker, best-selling author, film maker, and recipient of the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award. As a Canadian Geographic Fellow Julie is listed in the world’s top explorers by Outside Magazine and others. Leadership Victoria Executive Director, Mark Crocker spoke to Julie Angus about her personal leadership style and where her adventurous spirit will take her next.

"I only have one life and I want to fill it with as many things that excite me as possible"

Born and raised in Canada as the daughter of immigrant parents, Julie was a shy child and led a protected life. She grew up learning to love books and developed her personal leadership style of being authentic and leading by example by understanding the value of having a multicultural and diverse society.

She believes that the secret of a successful venture is having a shared vision and getting buy-in from everyone involved, being open, genuine and honest. Julie thinks of herself as a generalist, and believes that being okay at many things has made her a better entrepreneur and team player.

“Endurance is my thing!”

She likes to challenge herself and sets the bar really high. Even if she doesn’t succeed at first, she keeps going at it till she achieves it - she swears by this philosophy and credits it with whatever success she has achieved. This same approach has helped her to nurture her relationships, both personal and professional. She believes in empowering people and allowing others to shine in their skills. Her core belief in collaborative work instead of competitive work has helped her become a better leader.

Julie believes in tackling challenges head-on. To her, leadership is personal and can come from each and every one of us. Lessons that she learnt from her 145 day journey on the rowboat taught her a unique perspective on perseverance that have stood the test of time. She remembers swimming with the dorado and trigger fish that followed their boat over thousands of kilometres and marvelled at their endurance, learning the value of resilience and taking baby-steps to reach the final destination. Though there will always remain moments of self-doubt, Julie believes in never giving up. To her, the risk is always both ways – what if I do it and what if I don’t? Her adventurous spirit has taught her to up the ante and take uncertainties in her stride and become a better leader.

“…it’s not the destination but the journey”

Being out in the open ocean for 5 months rowing over 10,000 kms taught Julie to appreciate the magic and beauty of the ocean and inspired the birth of Open Ocean Robotics – their venture that uses solar powered autonomous boats to capture information from anywhere on the ocean and give users instant access to the data. 

A love for the ocean and the outdoors brought Julie to study molecular biology at UVic. Being in Victoria ignited her passion for bringing community leadership to her area of interest – a blue economy! Canada has the world’s longest coastline and Julie is passionate about helping the local community be a leader in the 3 trillion dollar ocean economy with better access to sustainable fishing practices, clean energy, and food sources. She is part of the city’s ‘Victoria 3.0’ venture that helps her to contribute to creating a better future for the local community as well the country at large.

To learn more about Julie’s work and her adventures, check out:


By Chandrima Mazumdar, I write on topics related to leadership, diversity, media and gender equality.

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