The focus of Julie Ristau’s work is animating new possibilities for communities, organizations, businesses and people. This work as “an animateur” happens through collaborative planning, strategic problem solving, visioning and implementation. Her expertise crosses many fields from organizing to start-ups to community restoration. Ristau is leading the process to establish the Will Steger Wilderness Center, co-leads On the Commons, a commons movement strategy center and is now launching Regeneration Partnership, a collaborative to help bring new social and sustainable initiatives to life.
Early in her career, she started a breeding stock farm in southern Minnesota, she helped launch Utne Reader magazine, held an endowed chair in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota, and served as Executive Director of the national League of Rural Voters. She returned to Utne as Publisher in 2000. As an active community volunteer, Ristau co-founded and helped design and lead Homegrown MPLS, the mayor’s local food initiative.
Her long work with the commons led to her active involvement with the Women’s Congress. She is a member of the Future First Leadership Council.