About Me

I write all the time, not just books but also blogs. Mostly I find that the words just flow. This blog request though, is about me.

British conservative nature says, we don’t boast about our own success, such as it is rather we are overly modest. As William Shakespeare said “some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.” If we replace the word great with success, then I am able to empathise a little.

I was born in a terraced house in a Yorkshire village, my parents were typical working class, but as I understand it now, they were determined to do better. When I was born, at home as you were in those days, apparently the bed collapsed and had to be propped up with the encyclopaedia Britannia, my dad always said that’s why I was so clever.

 

My Education

 

To be honest I hated school, my parents sacrificed so much to send my sister and to a private girls school, but if I am brutally honest, it was quite clear we were the poorest kids in the school, uniform and trips out made it obvious.

 

My reaction was to become the class rebel and clown. I did of course fail my 11+, and the head mistress told my parents best thing Joanne can do is get a job in Woolworths and get married.

 

I ended up at Huddersfield Technical College, another massive cultural shock, the ability to choose if you wished to go to class meant of course I chose not to. Meanwhile my mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and unbeknown to me, my fathers clothing manufacturing business was to become a casualty of the three day week.

 

There is always some element of fate in success, my fate, was to meet the teacher who would change my future. A wonderful man Bernard Atha, a barrister now teaching at the college.

 

It was an O level law lesson I dropped in on, and I was hooked. Not just on the teaching style, but also on the subject. He became I guess, my mentor. He told me I could do anything I wanted.

 

Long story short, with Bernard’s help and encouragement, I got 2 As and a B at A level and secured a place at Leeds university. It was a difficult time though to be honest, my mother had died, my fathers business had gone bust and we were living hand to mouth.

 

Determination

 

Sometimes though, such adversity creates its own momentum and once graduated and trained as a lawyer, I determined to put a ring of security around myself.

 

Through a series of jobs I finally found my ideal role, working in the M and A department of an industrial amalgamator, where I honed my skills in corporate finance.

 

After 10 years and 4 children though, I wanted control of my own destiny and set up my own boutique operation, to provide corporate finance support to SMEs.

 

As with all businesses, this diversified into other areas including director training and non-executive roles. 30 years on this last year, I have been involved in 400 business sales, completed 3 of my own personal transactions, and last year I transferred my business to my wonderful staff via an employee ownership trust.

 

Over the last 30 years, I have held over 40 non executives roles, currently I sit as chair of 6 boards, which I absolutely love.

 

These range from waste management to engineering to tech. No meeting is the same.

 

Other Projects

 

Along the way I have written 7 business books, some of them have become best sellers.

 

I have been fortunate to have been awarded a number of business accolades including the Sunday Times NED of the year, the CBI business woman of the year and the IOD director of the year.

 

All sounds very grand from the outside but I still have huge imposter syndrome. Though I regularly speak at over 100 events a year, I still suffer from huge stage fright.

 

My background has made me feel constantly financially insecure, which I know is ridiculous but that doesn’t make it any easier to not worry constantly.

 

However my biggest success has been my children, who are very successful, involved in publishing, intelligence, marketing, and recruitment. They are my rocks and my love they complete me.


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