• Joanna


Joanna Stanberry

Social Impact Advisor

5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Try all the tough physical things possible for YOU. You don’t need to be the best, just to learn all the ways movement can be FUN.

  • Nothing is wasted—there is no “useless” knowledge but it needs to be delightful. Read poetry that makes you laugh or cry, listen to spoken word on YouTube, keep building with LEGO, wander around museums, read little plaques when you find them.

  • Pay attention. Whatever you need to do to notice things and be present in the moment do it. Make it a game, play at being with the people you are with, eliminate distractions. All you have is now.

  • You have all that you need. You may not have all the knowledge, or wisdom, or resources, or skills. But inside you have all that you need to learn and grow and to be YOU.

  • There is no such thing as “too serious.” Be serious, the world is full of things worth taking seriously. Find humor on the other side and don’t let anyone stop you on the way.

About me

As a teenager…

I grew up in Southern California in a small college town outside Los Angeles (but it felt worlds away). They imported lots of deciduous trees so even though we were essentially in an arid desert-like climate the leaves all changed in the fall! I loved nature and we had the beach and mountains at our doorstep.

I did all the things—sports (cross country and basketball), clubs, newspaper editor, community service, church, school. I always loved ideas and would talk about them to whoever would listen. My marks were not always the best but I talked my way into lots of opportunities. I also loved to read, and spent more time doing that than hanging out with friends.

After school…

I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics in college with “tracks” in leadership and human rights & Holocaust studies. In college I studied and traveled through programs in my school to Bolivia, Brazil, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany. When I graduated I moved across the country and took a job in New York City as a corporate legal assistant in Mergers & Acquisitions at an old (in American terms) fancy law firm, but did realize I was not cut out for law. After a year there I had my oldest daughter, Junia, and took jobs for several years that were more conducive to being a mum. I even had my own business in Brooklyn making and selling baby carriers! 

I worked jobs in finance, philanthropy, and tech start-ups while I did my MA in Organizational Leadership at night and on the weekends. My favorite job was when I graduated when I ran marketing and communications for a large charity that helped chronically homeless adults. Then I decided to stay home with my kids (I have 3) and work some part-time consulting jobs. I started a Girl Scout troop which was great fun. Along the way I married my husband Andy (13 years ago and counting…).

Now I’m…

In those years with my kids I encountered the ideas of Charlotte Mason, a social entrepreneur and education reformer who started a college to train young women to be teachers in Ambleside in 1890. She believed in young people and developed a method of learning that respected them as persons with immense powers. I started teaching her ideas to other mums and to adult students in a course I taught on Global Leadership. I began to realise that  learning settings for adults (not just in formal learning, but everywhere) doesn’t respect them as persons either. With the challenges of the climate crisis and other concepts that divide people I decided that new methods were needed. I moved my family to Lancaster in 2022 to pursue my PhD–I want to understand how Mason’s ideas could be used to help transform businesses and communities towards a more sustainable future. Advising at E2M is a powerful way I get to live out those values!