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2019 Forty Under 40: Sam Julka

President and founder, DORIS

February 8, 2019

40-40-julka-2019.jpgCreating a company focused on engaging all stakeholders in office-design decisions, Julka believes strongly in meaningful participation. And that holds true for clients as well as staffers. “We get to determine every day how we go about doing our work,” she said. “We figure out the road map. We get to develop new research methods, we figure out how to tailor what we do specifically to every client … . We may not have the resources of a large organization, but we are scrappy and hungry. If we think we have a good idea, we figure out how to get it done.”

Getting here: After her undergraduate work, Julka went to work for RJE Business Interiors. She worked as a graduate assistant at Flashpoint before launching DORIS, which stands for Design Oriented Research for Impactful Solutions.

julka-box.pngMajor achievements: “Figuring out how to take a very abstract thesis paper and turn it into a business that actually turns a profit,” she said. “Additionally—and I’m a little hesitant to note this, as it’s likely that a man in my position would not—inside the six years that DORIS has been operational, I’ve given birth to three children. I’ve had to learn a new normal at home that doesn’t allow me to work around the clock like most startup founders would like to. I’ve had to sell work and continue running a business while pregnant or on maternity leave… . I don’t necessarily see having my children as the achievement, but not tanking my business in the wake of having them as the achievement.”

Givebacks: Julka is president of the Centric board, vice president of the Herron School of Art and Design Alumni board, and social committee chair for the Rotary Club of Indianapolis.

Downtime: Golf, but “I don’t get to do it much; therefore, my short game is terrible.”•

 

Check out more 2019 Forty Under 40 honorees.

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