A Publication of WTVP

Julie Balkema is an interior designer with Ultimate Interiors, a full-service design firm. She helps her clients develop their “vision” and leads them through the process step-by-step to see that vision transformed into their residences and commercial properties.

Balkema applied her design skills to the nonprofit sector as she co-led the public space planning for Dream Center Peoria. Her team analyzed the usage of public spaces, considering security, durability and longevity into their design.

Balkema has been an active leader in the Junior League of Peoria since 2001, holding multiple leadership roles supporting the development of the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum. Behind the scenes, she also served as vice president of projects, providing leadership to committee chairs and supporting projects such as Keepsacks for Kids, I Like Me and Kids in the Kitchen. Balkema currently serves as president-elect on the board of directors.

In recent years, Balkema has contributed to the Junior League’s Peoria PlayHouse project by taking part in a nationwide search to select the exhibit design team and educational consultant. She helped in developing criteria to select the design firm and interviewing the leading candidates to make a final selection. Once the firm was chosen, Balkema played an active role in the first phase of the PlayHouse’s master plan, meeting with more than 200 community members in a series of input sessions.

At St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Balkema has volunteered as an assistant leader with the Girl Scouts, serving as a role model for young girls. An active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Guild, she has served as a picture person educator since 2002 and helped pregnant and new mothers as an Elizabeth Minister since 2004, giving back to the members of her parish and community.

Balkema is a recipient of the Junior League’s Julep Gem Award, which recognizes her “above-and-beyond” contributions to the League. She has also received the Shining Star Award multiple times. In a two-year period, Balkema logged over 1,000 hours of volunteer work through the Presidential Volunteer Service Award program. She has participated in leadership training from the Association of Junior League’s Organizational Development Institute Conference and the Association of Junior League’s National Conference.

Julie Balkema is an inspired volunteer who strives to make a difference in her community by leading others toward their goals. She believes that everyone can make a difference by taking small steps toward the things you believe in. iBi