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Connecting Knoxville to the Nation

Julia Hurley is on a Mission

“My family founded Knoxville,” Julia Hurley begins, then laughs. “I’m not kidding. I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. You must be able to trace your lineage back and prove it, and I have 24 trails of lineage. I’m 1000% from here.”

Julia grew up in Lenoir City and attended Maryville College. Early on, she was encouraged by her mentor, Harry Wampler, former CEO of Family Brands, to make a living in real estate. He threw a few listings her way, taught her how to invest, and showed her how to look for opportunities to work hard.

It wasn’t long before Julia started reaping the rewards as a real estate agent, working for a big firm and coaching other agents locally and nationwide. That’s why, when she got wind that The American Dream, a national TV show and Emmy-nominated production team, was looking for Knoxville real estate agents to kick off a new show, Julia wasted no time.

“My plan is to make Knoxville look good. I’ve been in this business for nine years. If you bring the right people here, you keep your community. We want to bring Knoxville to the Nation. That’s actually my tagline,” says Julia. She has a podcast based on the same concept called ConnectTheKnox.

“Selling Knoxville” is only one part of a larger series produced by The American Dream. Other cities in the series include Denver, Miami, Las Vegas, and Nashville, to name a few. The entire family of episodes can be viewed online, as well as on TV affiliate stations through CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC.

For her pitch, Julia was clear about the message she wanted to send. Instead of spotlighting hot real estate in the area, she wants to introduce potential newcomers to the best people, businesses, and nonprofits in Knoxville, starting with the University of Tennessee. She hired Big Slate Media to produce her segments and immediately got to work.

“I want to showcase Knoxville, not me. If someone is flipping through the Travel Channel, what can they learn about Knoxville? The first word that comes to mind for me is community. It’s not just a city you drive through,” says Julia. “Immediately, I wanted to bring in the Tennessee Vols. The Sunsphere is easy b-roll, but the UT football team is a passion for so many, so I wanted to get on the field.”

And that’s exactly what she did. Julia started making phone calls and reaching out to people she knew and didn’t know, including Michael Galyean, who’s likely more recognizable by face than by name. He was the faux security guard who joined the dance team on the field during the football game against the University of Tennessee on October 29, 2022. The entire event went viral. Julia joined members of the University of Tennessee Dance Team and Michael Galyean to recreate a portion of the dance for her first segment on “Selling Knoxville.”

While there’s plenty of fun to be had with the content Julia seeks to produce, she’s mindful of how she’s choosing to sell Knoxville to the rest of the country.

“I’m showcasing major nonprofits and people who are starting important conversations in Knoxville. I want to put the right people in front of the camera,” she says. “I don’t know anyone in Knoxville who doesn’t want a better future for our city. I’ve not once heard someone sit at a table and say, ‘What can I do to get more money out of people for myself?’ It’s always about contributing back to the community to make people better. That’s the true identity of Knoxville.”

Learn more about “Selling Knoxville” at AmericanDreamNetwork.tv.

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