Julia Guth ’87 almost turned down the job she’s held the last 20 years. It paid very little then, but Guth was sold on the chance to travel the world. “From Thunderbird, I always wanted to work on a global scale,” Guth said. She travels less today but oversees a host of financial and travel publications for Agora Publishing, a company that grew from 25 to 800 employees under her watch. She’s also the executive director of The Oxford Club, a Maryland-based investor network of 70,000 members worldwide. And she serves on the Board of Trustees for the Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Health Clinic in Nicaragua, an organization she helped establish.
A career in publishing might seem unlikely if you go back to Guth’s college days at the University of Colorado, where her primary interest was music business. She had studied abroad in Spain and chose Thunderbird for her graduate work because she wanted practical business experience.
Guth found a lack of good jobs in the western United States, so she returned to Baltimore, where she worked for a spell in investor services before going to Brazil to teach English for five months.
She returned to work for the Maryland Office of International Trade to help the state’s companies develop export markets, and it was at that job where she made one of the more important contacts in her career. She worked on a newsletter with the wife of her current boss, Bill Bonner, the founder and president of the Oxford Club.
“She said her husband was starting a club of international travel and investors,” Guth said.
The idea of global investing was uncommon then. “Now everybody talks about global everything,” she said. “Thunderbird was really the perfect background for me.”
Eleven years ago Agora got involved in its first venture outside publishing when it purchased 2,500 acres in Nicaragua, and Guth joined in the effort because of her Spanish language background.
Agora would take people there to educate them on such topics as buying land and establishing credit abroad.
Guth noticed, however, that many of the locals lacked healthcare. So she worked with the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh to establish the clinic, named after the baseball great who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and died in a plane crash in 1972 delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
“I’m very proud that we are helping to educate the community on better health and sanitation,” Guth said. “We’ve saved lives and contributed to the community spirit in those villages.”
– Gary Grado