2017-03-09 / Obituaries

Julie Weeks


Julie Weeks Julie Weeks Julie R. Weeks of Empire, a leading advocate for women’s rights and entrepreneurship, and the daughter of The St. Ignace News columnist George Weeks, died from brain cancer Saturday, February 18, 2017. She was 59.

Ms. Weeks was born November 2, 1957 to George C. and Mollie Rae (nee McKinley) Weeks in Lansing. She grew up there and in Arlington, Virginia, then moved to Leelanau County, where she attended Glen Lake High School and Leelanau School. She held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Michigan.

Ms. Weeks began her career in Detroit at Market Opinion Research as vice president of the Political Group, and Market Strategies as vice president of Politics and Public Affairs, then joined the White House staff in Washington, D.C. to work for the Small Business Administration as Deputy Chief Counsel for Statistics and Research. Later, in the nonprofit sector, she served as Managing Director and Director of Research at the Center for Women’s Business Research, then returned to government service as Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council, which advises the U. S. Congress, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the President of the United States.

She married Walter R. Hoegy June 6, 1998, while they worked for the federal government, and, upon retirement, the couple moved to a log home in Leelanau County.

There, Ms. Weeks started Womenable, a world-wide business to improve the environment for women-owned businesses. Like her mother, she was a tireless campaigner for women’s rights, and she worked in more than 30 countries, including Rwanda and Liberia, where she met President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to lead an African nation.

She served on the boards of Enterprise Women Magazine, Global Banking Alliance for Women, International Council for Small Business, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, the National Association of Women Business Owners, WEConnect International, and the Association of Women’s Business Centers, for which she served as chair. She also volunteered her time on the boards of the Leelanau Conservancy and the Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation.

She was a Strategic Advisor to Quantum Leaps and, more recently, to its FutureForward initiative.

Ms. Weeks researched and authored numerous articles and publications pertaining to women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment in the U.S. and abroad. In 2004, she advised the United Kingdom’s Small Business Service in the implementation of its women entrepreneurial strategy, and was a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at seminars and conferences throughout Europe.

The national women entrepreneurial community is organizing an initiative to continue her legacy, both in the U. S. and internationally, ensuring the work she started with Womenable.com will be continued.

She enjoyed biking, kayaking, walking, orienteering, music, and theatre.

Ms. Weeks is survived by her husband, Walter Hoegy, her father, George Weeks, four stepchildren, and nine grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mollie, and brother, Donald.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 18, at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home at 305 Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Leelanau Conservancy, P. O. Box 1007, Leland, MI 49654, The Women’s Resource Center, 720 S. Elmwood, Suite 2, Traverse City, MI 49684, or Glen Lake Community Library. P. O. Box 325, Empire, MI 49630.

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