Editor’s note: The August issue of The Lane Report features our semi-annual list of the Top Women in Business. At lanereport.com, we’re shining the spotlight on one of the honorees each day. Day 5: Julie Brazil, co-founder and chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics in Covington, which has processed more than 2.4 million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began.
Our occasional feature, Top Women in Business, highlights some of the women in and around Kentucky who are making an impact in business, the professions, politics and economic development. The feature recognizes women in key roles whose work ethic and body of work are making important contributions to commerce—and life—in Kentucky.
Top Women in Business has grown to become one of The Lane Report’s most popular features. Over the years, we’ve profiled more than 100 women who shatter stereotypes, encourage other businesswomen and help their Kentucky companies reach new heights. The women featured in this issue are no exception. From airport CEO to hospital executive, and successful online retailer to construction company VP, these women are forging their own paths, proving that hard work, perseverance and creativity pays off.
Julie Brazil co-founded and is chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics, a state-of-the-art laboratory in Covington that provides innovative lab testing for numerous illnesses. The company played a big role during the pandemic; its lab-testing method for COVID-19 was approved by the FDA in March 2020 and it has since processed more than 2.4 million tests with a turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.
Title/company: Co-founder and chief operating officer, Gravity Diagnostics in Covington, Ky. I founded the company with Tony Remington in July 2016.
Previous jobs/positions: Once I obtained my nursing degree, to add to my sociology degree, I worked for a large hospital system in Florida, treating patients with life-threatening cardiac and renal co-morbidities. While I loved my job and treating patients, I became increasingly frustrated with what I viewed as serious flaws in our health-care system that were reactive in approach and impeded patients from taking ownership of their own health accountability and wellness. I left my job and became a health-care consultant. Through that experience, I met my now partner, Tony Remington. We started a company commercializing for labs across the country, which, after several years learning “on the job,” led us to start our own lab, Gravity Diagnostics. Our foundation is built upon prioritizing the patient first, where they own their own health-care destiny, being a part of the circle of care and doing things differently.
Education/training: I hold both a bachelor of arts in sociology and nursing from the University of North Florida.
Top accomplishment: Entering the lab space—where no one believed Gravity could compete with large national labs—has been my top accomplishment, but I could never have even started without finding the right team that we have built around us. Having a team who shares in our mission, vision and passion has been instrumental in our success.
The person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: My parents. Both of my parents had to “break the cycle” of their own upbringing and they instilled in me to not only work hard, but also no matter what you are doing, do it in a way that you can be proud of.
One of my biggest challenges and how I overcame it: Overcoming the doubt of others that I could turn my passion for health care into a business that revolutionizes how we view health care. There was a moment in the beginning that I let that criticism/doubt make me question my own vision, but as I started to gain momentum and break out of my own comfort zone, I grew more and more confident of the path that I was on and made up my mind to not let anyone deter me from that.
My advice to younger women in business: Take every meeting. Every chance you have to learn something new or build new relationships, take it. Because my formal educational background is heavily focused on direct-to-patient health care, I did not view myself as a “businesswoman,” but through years of experience, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and taking every meeting, I was able to leverage my existing expertise and background with new knowledge and emerge with a unique and well-rounded skillset that brings a lot of value to the table.
Something I love doing: I love going to Jacksonville Jaguar NFL games with my two boys, Connor (16) and Cameron (13); kayaking; gardening; golfing; and attending Cincinnati Reds games with teammates from Gravity. Pretty much anything outside.
I’m inspired/driven by: I am driven to make a positive impact on those around me, both at home and at work. There is a flavor in today’s culture that you have to choose to be successful or choose to do the right thing and I reject that idea. You CAN do both.
One important skill everyone should have: Self-worth. Knowing your value in all facets of life and letting that guide your decisions for what you want out of life and what you have to give to others.
In the next five to 10 years in my job, I hope to accomplish: I hope our mission to have individuals own their health care is mainstream and individuals feel empowered to do more for themselves rather than being told what to do, when to do it, and whether or not insurance will pay for it.
Favorite book I’ve read recently: Angelina Jolie’s “Notes From My Travels,” which is about her time working with the United Nations.
Lorie Hailey is special publications editor for The Lane Report. Reach her at [email protected].