Julia Desmond

Julia works for Seattle's Best Coffee - a Starbucks-owned company, developing new store locations


Julia used to dream of being an architect and designing buildings. After going to architecture school she decided she preferred to design cities, and looked into urban planning programs. Researching and interviews led her to realize that real estate is a career choice with a wide variety of jobs available that pay decently, use multiple skills, and hold a lot of influence over our built environment.

Julia has lived all over the country, and especially enjoys visiting new urban environments. She has been working in commercial real estate in a variety of capacities for 6 years. She began her career in San Francisco, where she concentrated on LEED certification for the real estate developer Jay Paul Company. She moved to Seattle in 2010 and worked in both asset management and research for the University of Washington’s Real Estate Office. She currently is on the Store Development team for Seattle’s Best Coffee, owned by Starbucks. She and her team are building drive-thru only coffee stores in unused parking lot areas in suburban communities.


While at Runstad, she became very interested in corporate real estate and how a company strategizes its portfolio. Julia looked into corporations that had a real estate presence, and Starbucks is a local global company that has an immense portfolio of stores. She knew that by working for such a successful company she would learn a lot about how these companies, which employ many people in our country, operate, grow, and impact communities.

Why Runstad

When researching schools, Julia knew she wanted a real estate program within an Urban Planning department, a public university on the west coast, and a vibrant city life. The interdisciplinary course offerings and activities available alone at Runstad were undeniably in line with Julia’s requirements. Plus, outside of her core classes she was able to take courses in urban planning, public policy, and business as well as participate in many clubs, organizations, scholarships, and competitions.

Julia’s best advice to students at Runstad is to get involved. During her own time at Runstad, she was President of the Real Estate Club, Founder of the Student Council, and the Student Member of the Runstad Advisory Board.


  • Washington University in St. Louis: B.A., Environmental Studies with minors in Architecture and Anthropology
  • University of Washington: Rebecca Griego Scholarship recipient

3 Favorite Things About the Pacific Northwest

The summers, natural beauty and good air quality, and its progressive policies.

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