Hi. I’m Joanna.
I’m a southern-born baby boomer (1953 vintage) with a thirst for adventure who moved to California straight after college to pursue a master’s degree in social work.
Throughout my career, I have created courses, masterclasses and programs for a variety of institutions, including non-profits, colleges and Fortune 500s. All of these programs have had a consistent theme: personal empowerment, self-awareness and self-appreciation.
Like most of us, my life journey has had its twists and turns. Along the way, I became a “techie” as well as a personal growth junkie in my quest to better understand and accept myself.
But it wasn’t until I turned 65 that I truly stepped out of my comfort zone.
I organized and hosted an online series called “Sassy, Sexy & 60”. I knew I was putting myself in the spotlight, open to criticism, and that terrified me. But the experience ultimately connected me to a beautiful community of women who inspired me to create Journey To Legacy. Now I see clearly how all my life experiences have lead me to this purposeful place.
I never considered myself to be a writer or storyteller.
But when I started writing weekly emails to those who had joined my subscriber list from the Sassy Sexy & 60 online series, I discovered something life-changing.
I felt called to write openly about my life, including my joys, my sorrows and my challenges.
Telling my story brought me a sense of peace and self-acceptance.
And the more I wrote these emails, the more intimate and revealing my writing became.
I shared personal information with thousands of people I had never met.
I wrote about my 3 divorces, my fear of aging, my challenges with self-esteem.
I shared what I had learned and was still learning from my life experiences.
And when I did, people wrote back to thank me.
They could relate to what I said. It helped them, they told me.
I realized how healing it is to share my truth and shine the light on parts of my life I had previously kept hidden.
For the first time, I owned my story. And it felt great.
My biggest inspiration for Journey to Legacy is my older sister, Laurie.
At the age of 67, Laurie found out she had 3 months to live due to a rare form of cervical cancer. She passed away the day after her son’s wedding and now has a granddaughter, Maddy, and a grandson, Benjamin, who will never truly know her. Laurie was a hero who left this earth without a chance to write down her stories so that her grandchildren and those who follow will know her as more than a face in a picture.
When I hear stories from others who lost loved ones and wish they had something to help them feel more connected to those they lost, my passion for legacy grows.
Our lives have meaning to others. They will know themselves better as you share family history. They will see themselves and their own humanity as you give them a peek into what you have lived through and how you showed up in the world.
We all have stories waiting to be told.
Sharing them helps us uncover what has been meaningful in our lives.
Writing about our lives connects us with others who can see themselves in our stories.
Writing about our lives helps us feel good about ourselves, about what we have done, and the choices that made us who we are.
It’s important that we do this because if we don’t tell our stories, they will die with us. We will have lost the chance to share and to choose how we want to be remembered.
We want our children and grandchildren to get a good education, we are concerned about the environment they will live in and we want them to have the resources for a good life.
Yet, somehow we don’t make it a priority to preserve our personal stories for future generations, stories that will help them know and understand themselves more deeply – stories that will help them know much more about their ancestors than just a picture or a mark on the family tree.
So, I have changed my mind.