We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work-life-balance. I can see my younger self rolling my eyes as I hear those words. I was committed to my work. And given my professional role in protecting children, I felt my time was justified and frankly thought I should do more. Then, enter husband, then children and I learned in a whole new way what that phrase meant. It was a struggle. I felt guilt when I was working for not being with my family. I felt guilt at home knowing I could be knocking something out at work. I was burning out and something had to change. I quickly learned why work life balance had to become a priority. I lost my mother and my mother-in-law, both strong women of faith and great love for others, within about one year of each other. As I navigated the final weeks with both, I was encouraged to remember that I would never regret the time I spent by their side and with our family. I have kept this mantra with me. Time with my family is critically important. I have never regretted watching my daughter’s soccer, basketball or softball games (seriously….over achiever!). Now there was one band/choir concert that I would gladly re-think, or at least my ears would like that. When I made it to school in time to surprise my son to pick him up instead of going to the after school program that day, his smile warmed me from the inside for the week ahead. I have attempted to play more video games than my skill set allows for, which leads to a good laugh by all. I can throw a mean football-at least I think so! When you work in the field of child protection and advocacy, there is always more work to do. Yet, in order to be around for the long haul, there has to be a balance in my personal life to recharge and take care of myself and my family. When I am at work, I give it my all. When I am home, work is secondary. In my role, there can be emergencies. I will handle an emergency in light of my work, but otherwise now let things wait that can wait. My kids know that I am there for children in our community to help keep them safe and protected. They also know that I am first and foremost their Mom and wife to their Dad. By making that a priority, I am better prepared to fight on behalf of children that need me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have the pleasure of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Alliance For Children, Tarrant County’s Children’s Advocacy Center. Dedicated to the protection and healing of child abuse victims, Alliance For Children has helped more than 60,000 children heal from the trauma of physical abuse, sexual abuse or from witnessing a violent crime. Alliance For Children is the only Tarrant County non-profit organization directly involved in the protection from child abuse through coordinated and teamed investigations with local law enforcement agencies, Cook Children’s Medical Center, JPS Health Network, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, Tarrant County Juvenile Services and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. I began my career in child protection as an Investigator with Child Protective Services in 1999. I spent six years with CPS; most of this time as part of a specialized unit investigating serious, life-threatening cases of abuse while co-locating within the Alliance For Children. In 2005, I transitioned to work directly for Alliance For Children and celebrated my 15th anniversary in 2020. For anyone within the child protection field, we have all heard countless times from others the phrases-I could never do your job-or-I don’t know how you do that work. Yes, it is true this work is hard. It is hard to watch a child tell her story for the first time about a parent that has victimized her. It is challenging to say the right words to a protective caregiver whose worst nightmare has just been realized. Yet, the real heroes in this work are the child victims who are brave enough to tell their story. If those of in this field can help them even an ounce, all of the hard work is worth it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love calling Fort Worth home! What an amazing city to live, work and play in! We have the best shops, best food, entertainment, etc. As a Texan, I would have to shout out great Tex-Mex. Our favorite Tex-Mex is Los Asaderos in Northside, Fort Worth. You must try the steak fajitas and watch out, the salsa has a kick! After lunch, stop by the Stockyards for a true Fort Worth experience, including the cattle drive and wood maze. Downtown Fort Worth is a wonderful place to stroll and stay. Our kids’ favorite is Cane Rosso and be sure to try all the goodies along Magnolia Street while you are there. Then, drive on over to Arlington and see the home of our Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys. Be sure to stop by Prince Lebanese Grill, a local favorite. All of my favorite restaurants have been a recommendation of law enforcement I have had the pleasure of working with through my career. They know great food in our cities! If you walk in and see our men and women in blue, you have chosen well! We are proud of our teams and our cities throughout Tarrant County. It is a great place to raise a family.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This question makes me think of a good mixed tape or play list filled with the best songs of our life. I am blessed to have so many supports in my life-it is hard to narrow down to only a few. My mother, Jo Nash, was a strong woman of faith who poured into me and my three crazy brothers. In case they see this, please let me reiterate….my three crazy brothers who I would not trade for the world, but know that they are in fact a mess! As a single parent most of her life, our mother was the epitome of a leader, mentor and encourager. She pushed each to be the best versions of ourselves and loved us unconditionally. I remember the day when I graduated college so vividly through my mother. I was the baby in our family and when I walked that stage it meant all of her children had graduated. This was her life goal, something she was not able to do for herself. She was so proud. Check!! Professionally, I have been blessed with strong leaders and mentors. My first supervisor, Trecia Miller, taught me the importance of our work in child protection and doing so without ever cutting corners. (Even when I tried to convince her the house call could wait until Monday….she was right, I was wrong!) Our kids were too important. She also taught me the importance of keeping joy within an emotionally heavy work environment. Our Founding Executive Director at Alliance For Children, Nancy Hagan, challenged me professionally. She envisioned a community where children were safe and protected without needing agencies like ours. Nancy led with compassion, conviction and strength. She saw things in me that I could not see in myself. She lifted others up around her and was so generous with her knowledge and experiences. I am grateful she still walks with me through many of my challenges today. It is through the belief of women like these, and so many others, that I find myself the parent, wife, friend and leader that I am today. I know that God placed me in this moment right now for his purpose and his glory. I am just trying to not mess it up!