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Members In the News, NSLS Member Spotlight, NSLS Success Stories, Leadership Development

Brain Tumor Survivor and Entrepreneur Honored as Outstanding Graduate

Brain tumor survivor and beauty entrepreneur Julie Brown has been honored as Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) Outstanding Technical Diploma student for the spring 2023 semester.

When doctors removed the brain tumor on December 15, 2020, Brown felt she had a renewed sense of purpose in life. She started her own business, Melanin Jewel, which offers beauty products and services to enhance people’s natural beauty with minimal effort. Around the same time, she enrolled in MATC’s aesthetician program on the Mequon campus.

Through her personal experience and the role models around her, Brown has learned that prioritization, determination, and fortitude in the face of adversity are essential ingredients for success.

Prioritization Helps Balance Work and Life

With so much on her plate, Brown found that organization was necessary to navigating work, school, and life.

“Being a mom of three, working and going to school was a lot to juggle at once. In order for me to succeed, I needed to be organized and prioritize my work and personal life.”

Part of that prioritization included not being afraid to ask for help. Whether with class work or financial responsibility, Brown recognized when she needed assistance and asked for it. For her, the key to her success has rested on one important skill. 

"Communication. Being able to communicate my needs and ask for assistance where needed."

Determination and Fortitude ARE Essential 

Brown has seen determination and fortitude modeled throughout her life by her mother, Ethle Massey Tate. 

“Outside of being the wonderful mother she is to me, she truly leads by example. She won’t give me advice that she has not applied to her life herself. She leads with fortitude and never gives up. My mom obtained her bachelor’s degree at the age of 72 years. The obstacles and hurdles she had to overcome and still graduated with honors in top of her class was truly inspiring. She leads with transparency, she leads with purpose, and I truly look up and admire her for that."

With her mother’s grit and determination as a model, Brown has followed the advice she once received to stay the course, even in the face of obstacles, because success comes through failure.



Brown’s Advice for Future Leaders

"Be genuine, and communication is key. Live with transparency and with fortitude. Lastly, be the example you are looking for your team to be."

Brown sees leadership as a platform for empowering others and leading by example, and her work with the NSLS has helped inspire her further to pursue this kind of leadership. 

"Receiving this high recognition from the NSLS has made me want to become better not just for me but for my community. The NSLS offers training and classes that allow individuals to grow into a respectable leader they are meant to be."

So what’s next for Brown? She plans to build and grow her brand, Melanin Jewel, using a suite she just acquired to practice and provide services and products in the aesthetics industry. Part of that journey will include lifelong learning and embracing a growth mindset.

“I plan on continued education to continue to grow and learn and evolve with the current trends in the beauty industry."

Many NSLS members pursue entrepreneurship and create brands they’re passionate about. Learn about another recent grad’s foray into entrepreneurship and receiving a prestigious business award.