Prestigious Women Awards Honorees: Joanne Weiner

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, I explored NYC, and California before settling in Boca Raton in 1988, where I have been living with my dogs ever since. Earning a BA in English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies and Studio Art (University of Rochester), I have continued to study art and education every where I have lived. After starting Palm Beach International Academy in 1989, I dedicated my career to creating self-paced individualized academic programs in unique and creative ways. Passionate about women’s rights, the environment, art and education, I am constantly looking for great projects to support. As a solo traveler, I have immersed myself in many cultures around the world and find the most rewarding times are when I meet people who are making a difference in their communities.

 

Favorite quote: “Breathe in, then breathe out and smile.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh

Fun fact: In 1984, I played the bartender in the MTV video, “The Power of Love,” for the movie, “Back to the Future.”

How do you unwind after a long day of work? I walk my dogs, ride my bike, prepare good food, and sit quietly.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? Being received with skepticism, so becoming perseverant; having staff who were complacent, so demanding excellence; having clients who are challanging, so standing my ground; working in the noble profession of education and ‘not suppose to’ care about money, so not being afraid to charge good money for my services.

What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? When leaders in politics, business and entertainment contacted me with no solicitation to help with the education of their children, and I could leave the business and it ran without me. When my students’ children became my students.

Who are your role models? Strong, powerful and kind people who are making a difference in the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Stretch to bigger than you think you can, as you will grow into it, and never make a major life decision when you are way high or way low. From my dad.

What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? Know that women approach life differently than men, so being compassionate and empathetic is not a sign of weakness and being strong and assertive does not make you a bully. Speak your mind, but understand the difference between a fact and an opinion. Learn to listen. Maintain integrity. When you make a decision, you do not need to justify it, unless you are asked. Always be fair to you, the business and your clients. It is OK to change your mind, but stay the course. Protect your down time to be able to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Be fearless and extraordinary.

How does being a woman has impacted your career?I am able to be authentic with people and know that when showing emotion, it is not a sign of weakness and when being assertive, it is not a sign of being a bully. In business I still have to work twice as hard to be considered half as equal, but knowing the impact I have had on people’s lives helps to ease that stereotype.

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