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Juli Pettit reflects on path to becoming General Manager of the Iowa Barnstormers

Juli Pettit always knew she wanted to work in sports, but never imagined she would end up being the general manager of a team.

DES MOINES, Iowa — For Iowa Barnstormers General Manger Juli Pettit, one of her main goals is creating a fun experience for the fans.

"It can get really chaotic and stressful, but when we see the results at the end of the game, that's what it's all about for us," said Pettit.

You could say being a sports executive is in Juli's blood. She watched her father John work as was one her whole life. Then, in 2014 she got the opportunity to work alongside him for the Iowa Barnstormers as the marketing and social media coordinator. John served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

"I don't think growing up, I necessarily planned to follow in his footsteps," said Petit. "It just kind of happened. After college, the opportunity to work for the Barnstormers came up and I took it. From there I took on a lot of different positions."

Over time, she began to take on more responsibilities, overseeing everything from football operations to sales. This experience put her on the path to becoming general manger after her dad passed away in 2020.

"It was very important to me to continue to run this team the way that he did," said Pettit. "I know what's important to him. I know what his values were in running this team and running the staff and I really wanted to stay true to that, but put my twist on it."

Her rise to the top of the ranks hasn't come without its challenges. Being a woman in a male dominated industry, she's dealt with some pushback. But Juli doesn't let it phase her. In fact, she's using her position to support other women in the industry.

"A big thing that I wanted to do stepping into this position as a woman was make sure that I am encouraging other women to follow me into the sports world," said Pettit. "We have a lot of strong women in this organization and kind of train them up the way that I was."

Juli has big goals for the organization that she working to accomplish, and she's continuing to create her own legacy in the process.

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