Canopy Advisory is pleased to introduce you to our featured advisor of the month, Joanne. Joanne has 15+ years of experience in aiding organizations in strategic goal development, fundraising diversification, corporate social responsibility initiatives, coalition building, and collaboration around environmental, economic and social impact challenges. In addition, Joanne is soon to be a published author, with her new book ChangeSeekers coming out Sept. 12.
What spurred you to start your sustainability consulting business?
I had hit a turning point in my career where no suitable position seemed to fulfill me. I started to think about the importance of connection building as a key element to social, environmental and economic impact work, and realized there may be a niche for someone to help companies and nonprofits partner more effectively. When I realized my current organization was just not a good fit for me anymore, I gave 60 days’ notice, began writing my business plan, and the rest is history!
What advice can you offer companies or consultants to build a successful consultant-client relationship?
I recently had an epiphany around the concept of active listening. I realized that what made my best relationships work was mutual learning, respect and the ability to hear each other. Some of my closest clients have become good friends, in large part because I spend a lot of time asking questions, listening and learning about what makes the client feel successful and fulfilled. I then incorporate much of that into the work we are doing together.
Share one of the most exciting ways you’ve helped a client experience positive change.
One of the most exciting ways I work with clients is to develop innovative and new ways of partnering to affect change. One of my clients was receptive to a new way of partnering to achieve their nonprofit mission. We tested this method with a partner I recommended, and it has developed into a global partnership with much opportunity to change the space of economic development. To see our idea to fruition was incredibly exciting.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
As an entrepreneur, wife and mother of two boys, free time is a bit hard to find. That said, I love to read, travel, watch my kids play sports and am an avid football fan (go Cleveland Browns!).