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Spark’s Newest Board Member – Julie Cook

  |   Board of Directors, chicago, non-profit, nonprofit, spark ventures, women's empowerment, zambia

We are so thrilled to introduce Spark Ventures’ new board member – Julie Cook. Julie has been a long-time Spark supporter and events committee member. Check out this interview to learn more about her history with Spark and what she’s passionate about:



What initially motivated you to get involved with Spark Ventures and our work?

Julie: I attended a Spring Wine Event almost 10 years ago when my good friends Anne and Gary Vlk invited me. I thought “I like wine and I’m interested to hear more”! This is where I was initially introduced to Spark. After attending the Fall Gala, and hearing the inspirational stories from Rich and Charles, I was touched by Spark’s vision and mission and also impressed by their business model. My husband and I have been supporters ever since.



You traveled with us in January to see our work in Zambia firsthand. How has that impacted your view of our work?

Julie: It was so amazing to see things in action firsthand and to have the opportunity to engage directly with the Staff and the students. It was truly inspirational. To see how much has been done at Hope, how far they have come and their vision for the future projects was gratifying as an investor. We also saw the farm firsthand – it has come so far in such a short time! Experiencing this trip with other Spark travelers led to new and deeper relationships within the Spark community. Hope School is truly making a difference in the children’s lives, and the opportunity to spend time with them was a joy.
















What are you most looking forward to in the coming year as a member of the Spark Ventures Board of Directors?

Julie: I’m excited to become even more involved with Spark and look forward to seeing how I can help with their goals and initiatives.



Help us get to know you better – tell us something fun about your background!

Julie: I am from Chicago (and an avid Cubs fan!), but traveling is a passion. I love to explore new places, soak up the culture, architecture, old churches, scenic views and food. However, I confess that I did not try the caterpillar in Zambia.