Julia Mitchell

Julia Mitchell is the MD of Toast PR, an award-winning PR agency that “makes people, products and services famous”.

As a successful entrepreneur, Julia uses Freshwalks to switch-off from her busy lifestyle and reconnect with nature and her roots. Her usual routine sees her acting as a passionate ambassador to help elevate the extensive consumer and B2B brands that Toast work with, including Deloitte Digital, Paul Smith and Ideal Shopping Direct. Out in the hills, however, Julia can be found enjoying a good chinwag with her Freshwalks friends and generously sharing knowledge with our network.

If you’d like to get to know Julia a bit better, check out her LinkedIn profile here or say hello on an upcoming walk.

Tell us about your first Freshwalks.

I caught “the fitness bug” two years ago (midlife crisis klaxon haha!) and as part of that, I wanted to get into hiking.

I was brought up on a farm in the Pennines so, although getting back out in the elements is in my blood, I just never seemed to find the time. Freshwalks seemed like a perfect solution.

My first Freshwalks adventure was to Chinley in March of last year (2019) and safe to say, I was hooked.

How many have you attended?

I’ve probably attended half a dozen now (believe me I wish I could do more). It’s often hard to make time around work and childcare but every time I do, I’m so thankful I wrestled with the diary to make it happen.

Why do you come back?

I organise quite a few hikes by myself now, as Freshwalks has given me more confidence to do that. However, there’s nothing like having a guide who has the route planned for you!

Plus the people you meet on Freshwalks are just wonderful. I’ll often check with a few Freshwalks friends now when booking a walk to see that they’re on it too!

What’s your favourite route?

I’m a huge fan of Hope Valley. It’s just stunning and you can quite literally encounter four types of weather and scenery on the same walk. I also love the Macc Forest route which is covered by woodland and homes tall Sitka spruce trees that tower above you dramatically.

What's the something you always bring?

A flask of freshly brewed coffee for the first break. I’ve literally turned into my parents!

Favourite Freshwalks memory?

I really enjoyed a Freshwalks trip we took to Delamere Forest. There was actually a smaller group and as well as meeting a lot of great people, it just meant that you had more time to talk to one-another than you usually would. We stopped for lunch (luckily) under a tarpaulin shelter just as the heavens opened and the sound of the rain falling and smell of the forest was something else!

How has Freshwalks helped your business?

It’s help me to relax more and learn that taking the odd Friday off won’t mean my business stops altogether. I’ve also made some great new connections, of course.

Recommend three people you have met on Freshwalks.

Kim Nolan, Seb Randle, Steven Cobley and Peter Broxton. Sorry, I know that’s four – I’d actually say even more if I could!

How does Freshwalks challenge typical networking formats?

Freshwalks strips you of your corporate warpaint and clothes and puts you in a real life setting in the fresh air and countryside with no pressure to actually “network” – and that’s exactly why it works!

Freshwalks is a combination of exercise, networking, sharing knowledge and thinking time. How do you balance those components?

It’s not really a thought-through or conscious balancing act for me. It happens quite naturally.

I’m obviously gassing too much on the walks I’ve been on though, as I haven’t managed to get much thinking time on the ones I’ve been on yet, haha!

Suggest one new place for us to go.

Watergrove Reservoir at the back of Littleborough in Rochdale. It’s stunning and where my parents have a farm so I’m a bit biased.

Sum up Freshwalks in three words.

Green, friendly, exercise.

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