Julie is currently the Director of Sustainability and Social Impact at Free People, of URBN Inc. and has dedicated her career to driving change through ethical product creation and community focused initiatives.

She started the Sustainability department at Free People after leading impact projects for over a decade with global brands, like adidas, to nonprofits, like the National Park Foundation and Cuba One, and entrepreneurially with her own jewelry company, Gemela. Her work has led her around the globe - from factory floors in Argentina and Germany, to teaching sustainable jewelry design in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to building business strategies on the ground with artisan coops in Guatemala, Peru, and India; and has also led Free People to earn impact awards from both Girls Inc and Mercado Global in 2019.

As a Chilean-American female she also holds a special interest for the empowerment of the latinx community in business and creative fields, and for 2020 will be joining the Board of Directors at the nonprofit Cuba Skate and the Associate Advisory Board of Girls Inc. She currently resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY with her husband Michael Groth, and their rescue pooch Weezy.

Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan, a bilingual MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and she recently earned a certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School Online.

Julie Verdugo

Director of Sustainability and Social Impact at Free People,