Ask Acumen

Julie Bockenstette

Executive Vice President, Head of Human Resources

How long have you been with Acumen?

I joined Acumen in November of 2021, so I am just a few months away from my 2-year anniversary.

What initially drew you to Acumen and our company’s mission?

In 2021 I was going through a major career transition and started to look at job opportunities that would challenge me professionally and fulfill me personally. I saw the Head of HR position at Acumen and was drawn to it immediately. An opportunity to build an organization focused on Alzheimer’s Disease with a presence in Indianapolis? It honestly felt like this was my dream job and I am so glad that I am here.

Could you share a significant accomplishment or project you’ve been involved in that made a difference in advancing Acumen’s vision?

I had the privilege to champion the development of Acumen’s corporate context framework to create our vision, values, and strategic imperatives.

Which of Acumen’s four values (People, Integrity, Innovation, and Perseverance) resonates most with your work and role?

‘We put people first in everything we do, striving to prioritize patients and their loved ones and elevate our colleagues.’

People are our #1 asset and one of our 4 core values that I resonate with most. I helped to grow our organization from 13 to 43 employees and we’re still growing! In addition to recruiting the right talent, we want to retain our people, so I strive to ensure that our HR/people practices enable and engage our employees.

I, like so many others at Acumen, have seen the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on loved ones and I wanted to be part of an organization that is focused on such a critical unmet need.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join our company and contribute to our mission in Alzheimer’s research?

Every employee at Acumen, regardless of level or experience, can make a difference. Bring your full self and your ideas to work and be empowered to shape a culture and company that is growing and evolving every day!

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your free time?

I’m pretty simple, spending time with my family, friends and fur babies are #1. I love traveling, music and enjoy going to concerts with my significant other, Aaron. I also try to spend time giving back to the community. I am proud to be the board chair for a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of all women in the workplace – Integrating Women Leaders. My heartstrings have also been tied to Joy’s House, an adult day care facility here in Indianapolis that serves people with life altering circumstances like Alzheimer’s disease. I try to volunteer at Joy’s House once a month.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while being deeply committed to your work and the mission of the company?

Taking some time away from work in 2021 was a real blessing for me. So when I joined Acumen, I had a refreshed perspective. I think work/life balance may be more of a cliché, COVID changed so much where work & life are more blended with so many people working from home. I try to focus my time and efforts on things that are aligned to my values and priorities. One step I take is to block my calendar in order to have think time or catch-up time versus allowing my schedule to be back-to-back with meetings. When I started with Acumen, I put a Flexible Time Off policy in place so that our employees can take the time they need away from work, and this has also helped me personally. While this is still work, I try to do some of my one on ones over a phone call so I can take a walk or get outside and away from sitting at the computer all day.

I try to bring my full self to work every day, making personal connections, and having some fun along the way. Work is easier and less stressful when you enjoy your colleagues!

What is your favorite quote and why is it meaningful to you?

One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I hope my legacy is one in which people feel heard, valued and cared for. Our time here is short, so while our work is important, I believe that how we make people feel is our legacy.

What is one topic you could talk about for hours?

People. What’s important to them in their life and work and giving back and helping others. So many people have helped me along the way. 

I enjoy helping others that are going through career challenges or career transitions, from understanding what motivates them and what demotivates them, to what do they want their legacy to be, to helping with how they represent themselves to their organization or the external market.