Jewelry store vice president, nonprofit founder
You’ve surely seen Julie Weintraub’s face on TV, newspapers and billboards, advertising Gold & Diamond Source, which her husband, Steve, opened in 1984.
But if all you know about Julie Weintraub is what you see in the ads, you’re missing out on the generous, compassionate woman who worked as a waitress in high school to help her mom make ends meet.
Weintraub, 43, has since transformed herself into a successful entrepreneur, dabbling in real estate, and even owning a chain of restaurants and an interior design company. In 2004 she joined Gold & Diamond Source as the company’s vice president. The business is truly family-owned and operated: four of their five children and Steve’s sister, Patty, are among the company’s 63 employees.
Weintraub loves jewelry and she loves working at Gold & Diamond Source. She tells the story of a man who, after 34 years, was finally able to give his wife a new diamond ring. He unveiled the purchase to his wife in front of Julie, who was overjoyed to be a part of their happiness.
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Weintraub’s office at Gold & Diamond Source also serves as the headquarters for her nonprofit, Hands Across the Bay. The charity opened in 2010 and focuses on families facing a crisis, but its outreach efforts go beyond that, from helping vets suffering from PTSD, supporting violence survivors and gathering back-to-school supplies for children. Hands Across the Bay has donated more than $500,000 to families in need with funding by Gold & Diamond Source and its annual event, Tampa Bay’s Dancing With the Stars.
Weintraub heads the organization with her executive assistant, Dimitra Mantzaris. Their other staff member is outreach coordinator Melissa Dohme, a violence survivor whose ex-boyfriend stabbed her 32 times and left her for dead in 2012. An outspoken advocate, Weintraub helps domestic violence survivors by advocating cases in legal matters; standing with victims at hearings; and helping connect them to organizations that provide physical necessities, healthcare and emotional assistance.
“I know what it’s like to have nothing. And I know what it’s like to have everything,” says Weintraub, who moved with her mom from England to Florida, from a seven-bedroom home into a small apartment. “I do know what it’s like to struggle,” she says, adding that the family worried whether they had enough money to pay the electric bill, wondering if the water was about to get shut off.
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Last year, a health scare re-enforced her priorities. “I vowed to make more time to do more fun things,” says Weintraub, who loves baseball games, movies and eating out. At home, she spends time in her small aviary, which includes finches, canaries, rabbits and plants. Being outdoors is her secret weapon to a balanced life, says Weintraub, explaining that spending even just a couple of hours gardening can help her relax and refocus.
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Weintraub is modest about her work, and likes to showcase her philanthropic projects as a community effort. And while she’s happy about her family’s business success, she says what really matters reaches beyond sales: being a part of people’s happiness, gaining support for her charity, helping those in need, and making a difference in the community.
“I know God’s blessed me, and I want to be able to help someone else,” she says. “It’s really a dream.”