Call it turning the tables.

When Julie Johnson entered the propane business founded by her father 30 years ago, she stood out as one of the few women in a male-dominated industry. And it was her father who had to mentor her so she could take over one day, making sure the men in the industry respected her.

Now, as president of Ted Johnson Propane in Baldwin Park and board member of the Western Propane Gas Association, it’s 52-year-old Julie Johnson’s turn to do the mentoring.

The role reversal hit home for her a couple of years back at the association’s annual trade show in Reno, Nev.

“It was an epiphany for me,” she said. “I realized as I was talking to the attendees, I was the one with 30 years experience in the industry. And with that longevity, men in the industry – some in quite senior positions – were coming up to me and seeking my advice and perspective.

“That realization was both eye-opening and empowering.”

And with the company turning 50 this year, Johnson is focusing her mentoring skills closer to home. She’s preparing her daughter, Alexandria Cesena, 30, to eventually take over the family business.

“I’m giving her lots of time in each facet of our business so she really understands how it works,” Johnson said.

Aussie Arnold

Luxury real-estate broker Josh Altman, 35, is used to interacting with Hollywood stars on his home turf in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills.

But a recent celebrity encounter during a speaking engagement in Brisbane, Australia, left the star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” genuinely star struck.

Before delivering a speech to a conference room with thousands of Australian real estate brokers, he ran into none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

Josh and his brother Matthew, co-owners of Altman Bros. in Beverly Hills, wound up speaking to the former California governor in the green room for about an hour, and learned all about Schwarzenegger’s personal military tank.

“After he left, my brother and I looked at each other and said, ‘That’s pretty much the coolest thing that’s ever happened to us,’” Altman recalled. “What stood out is what an amazing and nice person he is.”

Luckily for Altman, he didn’t have to follow the iconic “Terminator” star on stage.

“He crushed it,” Altman said. “The crowd just fell in love.”

Staff reporters Howard Fine and Omar Shamout contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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