Julie Nelson is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Race Forward. She was the Founding Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a joint project of Race Forward and the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley where she serves as a Senior Fellow.

Nelson is the former Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, where she served eight years, providing both vision and hands-on support to Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, the first local government initiative designed to dismantle institutional and structural racism and advance racial justice. She also served in positions at the City of Seattle's Human Services Department, Administrative Services, Seattle City Light, the Office of Housing, and Seattle Public Utilities, in addition to roles at Housing and Urban Development in the federal government and with Pima County Community Services in Tucson, Arizona.

Nelson has a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Economics and Finance from the University of Arizona and has served on the boards of multiple nonprofits. Nelson is driven by her passion to realize racial equity, social justice, and inclusive multiracial democracy.