How A Longing to Belong Led to A Career of Helping Companies Build Brave Cultures, Inclusivity & Belonging
Every business has a company culture. Culture impacts everything from employee performance and engagement to how your company is perceived by your customers.
In this podcast episode, Tania speaks with culture and leadership development expert, Johanna Lyman, about her entrepreneurial journey, and how her longing to belong led to a career of helping companies build Brave Cultures based on the principles of conscious capitalism that encourages inclusivity and belonging.
And people don't always realize this, but culture is going to happen in an organization, whether you plan it or not. But when you don't plan for it, it ends up being one of those companies that I worked with that I had to escape from, because it's not good. It's not values aligned. People don't feel respected. They don't feel appreciated. They don't feel like they belong." - Johanna Lyman
How Johanna's story of belonging is what drives her to help leaders build inclusive cultures for companies. (3:45)
Why Johanna decided to become an entrepreneur. (9:17)
A different view on Maslow's hierarchy of needs with belonging at the bottom of the needs pyramid. (10:36)
Advice on how entrepreneurs can find a like-minded community for support using values alignment. (15:03)
What conscious capitalism means and what it looks like for business owners. (16:30)
Why culture happens in an organization whether you plan for it or not. (17:58)
Why knowing your purpose, or why, matters. (19:00)
The role of self-awareness when building culture and how to measure if you're actually being self-aware as a leader. (21:51)
How self-awareness grows with self-reflection. (23:08)
What it means for a business to have a brave culture and why it's a must for a purpose-driven company. (24:29)
Tips on how you can start to be more inclusive as a business owner. (25:57)
The most challenging part for entrepreneurs during this process to become more conscious. (27:54)
How to connect your core values with specific action steps in your company. (29:02)
How to measure the effectiveness of your company culture and its values with a scorecard. (30:28)
How COVID-19 is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make collaborative decisions with team members and employees. (31:47)
The mindsets Johanna believes give her the advantage to do meaningful work that creates a positive impact. (35:10)
How to connect with Johanna. (36:40)
Starting Advantage welcomes voices from many spheres with different perspectives and opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. The show does not endorse, promote, or is in association with guests' business interests.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Entrepreneurship community recommended by Johanna: Awarepreneurs Facebook-group
Dr. Tasha Eurich - Building Future-Ready Leaders
Recommended book - Success Mindsets by Ryan Gottfredson
Ryan Gottfredson - Free Personal Mindset Assessment
Starting Advantage Listener Survey
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Eps 37 - How to Use Values to Create a Brave Company Culture, Inclusivity & Belonging with Johanna Lyman
Please enjoy this transcript of Johanna Lyman's interview with Tania on the Starting Advantage Podcast. This transcript is lightly edited for readability.
[00:03:36] Tania De Ridder: Hi, Johanna. Welcome to Starting Advantage. Thank you so much for being here today.
[00:03:41] Johanna Lyman: Thank you so much for having me, Tania, I'm really excited about this conversation.
[00:03:45] Tania De Ridder: Johanna, on your LinkedIn profile in your 'About'-section you share ... I want to actually read it as a quote, "My story of belonging or not in my case, started in the womb, ask me if you're curious. It's what drives me to help leaders build purpose-driven, wildly innovative, and fiercely inclusive cultures for companies to thrive in the 21st century," unquote. So I can't resist. I am curious, I want to start here. Please tell me about your journey of belonging and how you got to be who you are today.
[00:04:23] Johanna Lyman: I don't know why it surprises me when people actually ask that question because it is in my profile. But, yeah, so I grew up, I was raised the oldest of six kids in a small community in central Massachusetts, very white, very lower middle class. And I never felt like I belonged in my family of origin, but I had no reason not to until I was 20 years old and I brought my boyfriend at the time, who's now my husband of 30 years, brought him home to meet my parents. And he walked into the living room, looked at the family portrait on the wall and said, "How come you never told me you were adopted"? And I just kind of elbowed him, cause he's a wise guy, he's always making jokes, but my mother turned as white as a ghost. And the next morning she pulled me aside and she says, "Oh, I have something to tell you," very dramatically, "I'm your real mother and your father's your real father, but he's not your biological father". I was like, what? So like my whole life up to that point, I had been living a lie. But all of a sudden it made sense why I had that sense of not belonging, even though there was no real logical reason for it. I would say probably note to self, trust your inner knowing always.
[00:05:53] That's what got me started. You know, I was bullied as a child, which I think so many of us were. So I always sort of had this dual edge of you don't belong here and you're too much, like too emotional or, or whatever, just too much. So that's sort of my, core wounding if you will. And that has led to the core gifts that I have, that I share with the world.
[00:06:19] Tania De Ridder: Thank you for sharing that Johanna. That couldn't be easy to start feeling brave enough to share that with people. But, as you shared that, I wondered, how did you decide what career to go into at that young age when you realized that you maybe were more sensitive or more aware than others or more emotional as you say?
[00:06:43] Johanna Lyman: Well, I actually knew when I was a little girl, like nine years old that I wanted to be one of those people picking out the clothing that everyone wears. Of course, at the time I thought it meant, you know, going to Paris and Milan and watching runway shows and picking the pretty clothes. But I went to college for fashion marketing. And I became a buyer for a major department store and worked there for about 10 years. And my intuition, my inner knowing actually served me really well in, I was really good at picking out the pretty clothes or the jewelry or the watches, whatever it was that I was buying at the time, but I also just had the sense that I had more to give to the world. That there has to be something more important than, you know, making a woman feel great because she's got a beautiful party dress. I mean, that's an important thing, but it's in the scheme of things. So I ended up leaving retail and joining, Merrill Lynch, which was a major brokerage house at the time. It's part of Bank of America now because I wanted to make a bigger difference. I was doing annual planning really as a buyer that if somebody had told me how much math was involved, I would have run screaming from it. But it turned out I really liked that. Like, cause the numbers made sense and I could plan something and then actually see it come to pass, which was really rewarding. So I became a financial advisor and I was working with individuals and non-profit organizations to help them build their donor base. I had left retail because I had been asked to do some things that were outside of my ethics zone. And so I was like, there's gotta be a place that's more ethical where I can transfer my skillset and do the work. So I landed on financial services, very naively. I didn't understand that the financial advisors, at least at the time, I don't know if it's different now, 20 years later, they didn't actually care about their clients. They cared about their commission and that was it for them. And so they would put people in products that weren't appropriate for them because that was the thing that was giving them the biggest commission that month. That was a fairly short career, about four years, I became a certified financial planner, but I just, again, was not aligned with my ethics. That's how I started my journey into entrepreneurship at the end of 2004. I left financial services and I went out on my own and became a coach. And, I never looked back.
[00:09:17] Tania De Ridder: How did you make that decision? Was there a defining moment? Did something specific happen? Or was it just cumulative and then you just decided, no more?
[00:09:27] Johanna Lyman: A little bit of both. I know that's kind of a weird answer, but it was a little bit of just the daily discomfort of this doesn't feel right. Like I don't feel right in my skin. And then, with each of the organizations I left, there was a discreet moment where I was asked to do something and I said, "That's it, that's the straw that broke the camel's back". I must have too much, I don't know, integrity, ethics. I can't make it in corporate like there's not enough ethics in the corporate world for me to feel like I belong there, you know? So I never felt that sense of belonging. So when I went out on my own, it was okay, I make the rules, I get to decide how to run this business. I get to decide how to choose my clients. I made an early decision that if I wouldn't want to have lunch with you, I wouldn't take you on as a client. And that has been an incredibly powerful guiding force in my life.
[00:10:36] Tania De Ridder: I've seen you say that you believe Abraham Maslow was wrong about the hierarchy of needs that we have as humans. That you think the bottom of the needs pyramid isn't safety, but that it's belonging.
[00:10:48] Johanna Lyman: Yeah, so, you know, we're basically the product of our ancestors. Scientifically, we know now that we carry the DNA of our ancestors in our bodies. So if you go back far enough, our ancestors were all cavemen and women, right. And so if you didn't belong to what was called a tribe, you weren't physically safe. Forget the rest of the pyramid. If you got booted out of your tribe your physical safety was immediately in jeopardy, whether it was from a sabre tooth tiger, the elements or, a tribe that you know was a warring faction. Right. So we are absolutely hardwired to desire belonging. In fact, I think it's that root of I'm not good enough. I don't belong. There's something wrong with me. And, if anybody ever sees it, if they figure it out, then I'm going to be booted from the tribe. This is not a term that I typically use except in this context, because it was literally tribes. So as an entrepreneur, especially as a solopreneur, and gosh, I wish someone had told me this 15 years ago, you've got to find your community, find other entrepreneurs because let's face it if you're not an entrepreneur. You don't understand why someone would do this crazy thing. Because it takes up all your time, all your energy, all your money, like it's an obsession, right? You have to be so deeply passionate about this, or it's just not worth it. I have coached thousands of entrepreneurs over the last 16 years, and it is a rare breed that actually has what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur. Now there's another sort of subset that people think of as entrepreneurs, they are talent for hire. Okay. So you might be a copywriter and you work for yourself. So there's this subset of folks that probably think of themselves as entrepreneurs, but a real entrepreneur is someone who grows, who builds something that can live beyond them. So, if you are, let's say, as I was for a long time, a coach and I was an abundance coach at the beginning, and I help people with their relationship with money. That business was entirely dependent on me. What I knew here, what I felt here, the business could not exist without me. Then I was a relationship coach, the same thing. And it wasn't until I built this body of work that we'll be talking about called, 'Brave Cultures', that I actually became an entrepreneur because this is a body of work that does not require me. I've got all the training material put in place so that someone could come in and learn the material and deliver it just as well, if not better than me. This is not to say that if you're a gig worker, you know, that you do work for hire that that's not valid. It is. You still have to find your people. Because your parents are probably saying, when are you going to get a real job? You know, my parents still say that to me 16 years later, like, um, I've had a real job. I've been paying my own way for all this time. But there's that, that sense of perceived safety, which is an illusion, but that most people think of with having a job that you've got benefits and you've got a paycheque and until the company downsizes or the economy trashes or whatever else. And then you're out of luck too, but you have to find your community because if you're doing this on your own, and even if you've got some support, it is a lonely business, isn't it.
[00:15:03] Tania De Ridder: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs to find like-minded people? What did you do that worked for you?
[00:15:10] Johanna Lyman: I first found people who were values aligned and it didn't so much matter to me what kind of business they were in. I wanted folks who ran their business according to their core values. One of the groups that I found is a group on Facebook and they've got a monthly subscription that you can be part of the community. They're called awarepreneurs. So these are entrepreneurs who are socially and consciously aware. If it's important to you to have other folks who do what you do, all the social media, have either groups or ways that you can find other people who are like you. I don't know why I'm remembering this book, but a Dr. Seuss book called, 'Are you, my mother?' About this baby bird who falls out of the nest, and it's like wandering around going, are you my mother? I wandered around for a few years going, will you be my friend? Are you like me? So it's just as like, one-on-one connection. I'm a goofball obviously, but it's like, those one-on-one connections really matter. And then even if your community is one other person that you can bounce ideas off of like that's going to make a huge, positive difference.
[00:16:30] Tania De Ridder: I'm so glad that we are in a time now where there's more awareness that we can be more conscious as business owners. When you have your business and this is the first time that you're introduced to the idea of conscious capitalism. Where do you start?
[00:16:48] Johanna Lyman: So conscious capitalism is part of a greater movement of business as a force for good other organizations include the B Corp movements, the social venture circles... there are a handful of organizations that are all saying basically that profit is not the only thing that matters. Your people matter, the planet matters. And so conscious capitalism is founded on four basic tenants and those tenants are that a business should be purpose-driven. That they have stakeholder orientation, not just shareholders. Anyone or anything that's impacted by your business is a stakeholder. And when you make decisions about what to do with the business, you consider how it's going to impact all of your stakeholders. Then the third tenant is conscious leadership, which is about leaders developing emotions, emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and systems intelligence. And then lastly, I think all of those three things come together to create conscious culture.
[00:17:58] And people don't always realize this, but culture is going to happen in an organization, whether you plan it or not. But when you don't plan for it, it ends up being one of those companies that I worked with that I had to escape from, because it's not good. It's not values aligned. People don't feel respected. They don't feel appreciated. They don't feel like they belong. I'm feeling very aligned with the B Corp movement because they, in the past year and a half or so have made a real stand against systemic inequities and for social justice. And to me, I don't think you can be a conscious leader if you don't have an equity lens. It's not just about you. Like what's happening to all the other stakeholders in your community and how are they being served or not served and whose voices are being heard or not heard? And actually Brave Cultures kind of came about from those four tenets of conscious capitalism.
[00:19:00] There are many roads that lead you home. I'm kind of a huge fan of figuring out your bigger why. Especially for solopreneurs. And especially in the first five years of business, like, why are you doing this thing that is going to take so much of your time, energy, talent, money, effort, all of it. Like why? You've got to be connected to a bigger why beyond just, Oh, this seems like a good way to make money because this road is hard. And just making money, isn't going to cut it. How I found my higher purpose and how I recommend people do it is to think about an experience that you had growing up or as a young adult that you never want anyone else to experience again. So for me, it was that I never felt like I belonged. I want to make sure that nobody feels like that at work, because I know that when we build a sense of belonging at work, people feel really valued. And they're going to stay with you and they're going to do their best. And then we know that companies who have developed this strong sense of belonging have really engaged employees and then companies that have engaged employees outperform the competition. So it's this beautiful virtuous cycle, right? So for me, it was around wanting to make sure that people belong.
[00:20:40] And if that doesn't do it for you, then I would say, figure out what your core values are and what do you stand for? What do you stand against? And somewhere in that beautiful stew is your business purpose. And I do like to discern between your business purpose and your life purpose, because I really believe that all of us have the same life purpose, and that is to love and be loved. And that might sound corny as hell, but I believe it with all of my heart.
[00:21:18] Tania De Ridder: I love that.
[00:21:20] Johanna Lyman: Thank you. Yeah, love is this a multifaceted experience, right? I often bring what I call fierce love. It's like that, that energy of, I know what you're capable of and I am not letting you get away with less and I'm going to hold your feet to the fire until you show up the way I know you can show up, you know, I had a client tell me once I was scared and I was like, what? And then they explained that and I was like, Oh, that's just fierce love.
[00:21:51] Tania De Ridder: We all need some of that. So, Johanna, you mentioned there about self-awareness but this can be very hard to do objectively for ourselves. So how do you know, or how can you measure if you're actually being self-aware enough to be objective about how you're showing up in your company or how you're impacting your employees?
[00:22:14] Johanna Lyman: That is such a great question, Tania. You can't know yourself objectively, you have to have some kind of a mirror, someone, a coach, or a friend who's willing to be brutally honest with you. Self-awareness is one aspect of emotional intelligence, right? Tasha Eurich, who's a researcher, she's done a lot of work around self-awareness and she wrote that 95% of people think they're self-aware, but only 10 to 15% of us actually are. So, we all have blind spots. I mean, I've been working on this for decades and there are places where my blind spots come up and slap me upside the face. So I count on my team. I count on a close circle of trusted friends that I can just say, 'Hey, was I out of line here?'
[00:23:08] Self-awareness grows with self-reflection. I've had a journaling practice for 40 years. You write, especially when you get upset by something, or you're angry about something, you just sit there and you write. You just keep asking, why? Why am I thinking that? Why am I feeling that? And listen, because you know. Trust your inner knowing. The answer is right there inside of you, but it needs to be teased out. And I have found journaling to be a great way to do that because it's right there in black and white or purple and white lately. Yes. I still use pen and paper. And then go back and say, Oh, look at this. Yeah. And then I'll even go back a few days later because once I've written it out, it's sort of in the hopper in the back of my head and then I'll have other revelations that come a day or two later. You have to stay really humble about that though because the minute you think, Oh, I've got this I'm really self-aware, you don't.
[00:24:11] Tania De Ridder: What I like to do is to also go through that process to write it down. And then to find a soundboard, to go check with someone, after you've had the chance to write it down, to make sure that you know how to articulate what you are thinking about this situation.
[00:24:29] What does it mean for a business to have a brave culture and why is it a must for a purpose-driven company?
[00:24:37] Johanna Lyman: Brave cultures are found usually in conscious companies, but not all conscious companies have brave cultures. So it's a deeper dive into the four tenets of conscious capitalism. Brave cultures are purpose-driven, they're wildly innovative, they're fiercely inclusive, committed to inclusivity and belonging, and those three things are made possible in a container of conscious leadership. So if you think back to the four tenants of conscious capitalism, we match on purpose-driven, we match on conscious leadership and then I think of the wildly innovative as tracking to conscious culture and then the fiercely inclusive tracks to stakeholder orientation because being aware of all stakeholders and making sure that everyone has a voice is a very inclusive thing to do.
[00:25:38] Tania De Ridder: That sounds like an excellent practice to try and give everybody within the company a voice, but that can also be very challenging to do. So what tips or advice do you have for an entrepreneur who is listening now who wants to start to be more inclusive?
[00:25:57] Johanna Lyman: I would say, start with getting more curious. Entrepreneurs are intensely curious about some things, but then once we think we know something, forget it, curiosity goes out the window. Don't let that happen. Bring in some humility, recognize, especially when you're facing a really hairy problem, you might not be the right one to solve it. Who else can you be asking? So curiosity and humility, I think go a long way. Also educating yourself, especially if you share traits that carry privilege. Like if you're white, if you identify as male, if you're straight if you're physically able-bodied, you know like those things carry some innate privilege with you, even if you've had a hard life, those are things that don't make life harder for you. So educate yourself about what it means to not have all of those privileges. Also, I think it's really important, especially these days to understand, the systemic nature of inequities and how those impact individuals and businesses and justice. And it's an intense journey. I've been on it for a long time and I still feel like I'm in kindergarten but every minute of it is worth it.
[00:27:29] Tania De Ridder: I'm glad you brought that up because often as entrepreneurs we're working so hard on building our business. Our world can become very small because every minute of the day, we're just thinking about how to make our business work and grow it. So it's so important to have that awareness, that that is an area where you have to put some work in, if you actually want to be one of those companies, that's making a bigger impact.
[00:27:54] What do you find is the most challenging for entrepreneurs in this process to become more conscious.
[00:28:01] Johanna Lyman: I think especially for new entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge to operating more consciously is that your number one concern is how to get more clients. But once you've got people paying you for your product or services, it's really easy and tempting to just ride that wave. And then you end up building a culture by default, you end up creating your values by default. Because your values are really the sum of how you do things, right? With so many examples of companies that have a great list of core values on the wall, in the lobby, but they're not living it. It's not enough to come up with a list of core values. You have to also identify what are the behaviors that someone could look at from outside and say, 'I see they value integrity, or 'I see the value inclusivity'.
[00:29:02] Tania De Ridder: I think that is such a great reminder for any entrepreneur listening, to take the time and go back and look at your values and then connect it with specific action steps that you're taking.
[00:29:14] Johanna Lyman: Yes, absolutely. Identify your core values. And then, what we do with our clients is we take them through a process where for each of their values, they rumble together and figure out what are three behaviors are clear and observable. Somebody could look inside and say, 'Yes, they're doing that' or 'No, they're not doing that'. Three behaviors that support the value and three behaviors that would be like early warning signs that we're on a slippery slope.
[00:29:47] So, yeah. Yeah. So vulnerability is one of our core values as a company. And one of our behaviors is we say the difficult thing, even when we're afraid. And so a slippery slope example would be if something comes up and maybe the team agrees to do something and you don't agree with it, but you keep quiet about it. Like that's a dangerous sign. And we have enough vulnerability-based trust built upon our team that we do that and it's welcomed. But, it's a practice.
[00:30:28] Tania De Ridder: And then measuring the success, or then the effectiveness is a better word I think, measuring the effectiveness of this, do you recommend having regular check-in points like every six months or every month? Every year?
[00:30:45] Johanna Lyman: Every year we create a scorecard and the scorecard identifies our three big rocks. So to speak, like three big things that are the focus for this coming year. And then we have in categories of people, planet, profits and product, or products and services in our case. So we've got the scorecard with these four boxes and we have metrics for the year. And then we review them. We just had a quarterly business review last week. We review how did we do? And it might be that in one of the quadrants we're actually not planning to start working on that until the second quarter or third quarter. But, every quarter we review, how are we doing? What do we want to celebrate? What do we want to get better at?
[00:31:43] Don't forget the celebration. The celebration, we forget all the time.
[00:31:47] Tania De Ridder: I think that's so true. We do forget to celebrate because we're so focused on achieving the next thing and that aligns so nicely with being a purpose-driven company. I quickly want to touch on COVID-19. In your work, you are helping companies prepare to go back to work through, or then post-COVID and you've said that you believe there is no back to normal or even a new normal post-COVID. Why do you believe this? And what does this mean for businesses?
[00:32:17] Johanna Lyman: The normal that we were accustomed to was not normal. It was not healthy mentally or physically for people. I live in the Bay area and people would have three to four-hour commutes every single day.
[00:32:34] Tania De Ridder: Oh my
[00:32:36] Johanna Lyman: Yeah, the stress and the pressure of the commute on top of the intense job is having a massive negative impact on people's mental health. Now that said for some people, the impact of working from home has had an absolutely massive negative effect on their mental health. So there is no one size fits all answer. There's no cookie-cutter answer to this. So with our return to work strategy session that we're working with companies on it's very individualized. And for many, if not most organizations, the exception of like restaurants and clothing shops, right? Those pretty much have to be in person, but for tech companies or for companies that have been able to function pretty well during COVID, why would you make people go back to work unless they want to. And I actually just read on LinkedIn today that only 18% of people want to go back to work five days a week. We say back to work, but we mean back to the office. Right. You gotta think about the quality of life of not having to commute. The quality of life of being able to set your own schedule. I think what we're seeing happening is a lot of companies are just saying, Oh, we're just going to go back and do what we did before. But everything has changed. So even if it worked before. It's not necessarily going to work now. So there's a lot of considerations to be worked through and most companies are not really thinking about all the things that could go wrong.
[00:34:23] Tania De Ridder: So from what I hear, Johanna, I see it as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to check in with their team members and to make a collaborative decision on this. Is that the way forward that you would recommend?
[00:34:38] Johanna Lyman: Yes. And that's a part of what we do is a stakeholder survey to find out. And we break it down by department or division or job title because managers, for example, probably more likely to want to be in person because it is easier to manage other people in person. It can absolutely be done remotely, but it takes a little bit more thought, I think.
[00:35:03] Tania De Ridder: What mindset do you think has served you the best during your career journey?
[00:35:10] Johanna Lyman: I've developed a whole mindset training based on the work of Ryan Gottfredson who is a researcher in Southern California. And he has a book called the 'Success Mindsets', which I highly recommend. And he's identified four sets of mindsets that are either positive or negative. The most common one that folks know about is the growth mindset. So a growth or fixed mindset. And then there are three others. I would say for me, my success has primarily been driven by having a more growth mindset. Meaning I believe that my success is dependent on what I do, what I learn and what I do with what I've learned versus just some innate skills that I was born with. Right. So I think anyone can do anything they set their minds to. That's a growth mindset. And the other thing, I have a strong what's called a promotion mindset, which is I'm okay with taking a risk if there's a chance of a really good payoff. Whereas most people and sort of the human default is a more prevention mindset where I just don't want to lose. Right. If I lose, I can always start over again. Cause, I have a growth mindset.
[00:36:32] Tania De Ridder: I can definitely tell that in you when I look at your journey, that's wonderful. But Johanna, how can people connect with you?
[00:36:40] Johanna Lyman: The best way to reach out to me personally is on LinkedIn. It's LinkedIn-dot-com forward slash 'in', forward slash Johanna Lyman, J-O-H-A-N-N-A-L-Y-M-A-N. And then our company website is we-are-kadabra-dot-com and that's K-A-D-A-B-R-A. We help leaders grow interpersonally, professional development, we do teamwork development and systems change. So anything from strategic planning, we focus on culture, innovation and inclusion, so strategic planning and becoming more innovative and doing the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
[00:37:28] Tania De Ridder: Thank you so much, Johanna. I will definitely share those links in the show notes as well. It was so lovely speaking to you and thank you for all the great advice and tips you gave us.
[00:37:38] Johanna Lyman: Thank you again for having me. It's really been a pleasure, Tania. Take good care.
Tania De Ridder owns the copyright of the content and transcripts of the Starting Advantage Podcast, all rights reserved.
Culture & Leadership Development Expert
Johanna is the Principal Consultant and Practice Leader for Culture and Inclusion at Kadabra. She helps small companies get to their next level of success, build a culture that supports sustainable profitability, and develop their teams to their highest potential. She has helped thousands of people all over the world build the business of their dreams and step into being the leader they’ve been called to be. She is a certified coach and business development expert with more than fifteen years of experience helping executives, consultants, and business owners build and develop successful businesses.
Prior to starting her own business in January 2005, Johanna was a CFP(R) at Merrill Lynch, a Divisional Vice President of Sales at Warnaco during the peak of their success, and she had a 10-year career working up the corporate ladder at Filene’s Department Stores, a division of May Co. She’s a Certified Change Management Specialist and Six Sigma Lean Professional (Green Belt).
She has spoken at conferences such as the HR.com annual conference, Sustainatopia, ISC2 (internet security and compliance), and Chico State’s This Way to Sustainability conference, and the WOW Conference for Women. She has also spoken at meetings like the International Council for Small Business Development, the Capital Club San Jose, the Natural Healers Network, the Awareness Network, Women For Change Coaching Community, Mastery for Women, Rhode Island SHRM, and at her own live events.