I met Joanne through Mohawk Valley Community College and quickly ended up working for her as a Program Coordinator. My job was developing courses and co-organizing the first ever area Every Woman's Day Conference, a concept she brought with her from Michigan .It was such a hit we repeated it the following year. I recall when we would go out to lunch or dinner, she was always amazed at the number of people I knew and spoke to around me. She said we had a "one degree of separation" , not "six", in the Mohawk Valley. By the time she retired from MVCC and returned to Michigan, she knew more people than I did - and I have lived here all my life! Joanne was a born networker and a people connector and was very active in creating a sense of "women's community" here in central New York.
Her farewell party was such an interesting conglomeration of people and organizations she had met and worked with, along with the many people she had befriended and/or become their mentor. I consider myself very fortunate that I call Joanne my mentor. She was an amazing influence and inspiration to me throughout my career and life.
On one of her visits back to Utica, I remember brainstorming my "Stories of a Lifetime" business concept with her, which helped give me the impetus to pull it together and do it! I was honored when she asked if she could help me design my website. Her presence and memory as part it, will always mean a great deal to me. I only wish we could have fulfilled our "barter arrangement" and she would have let me help her in documenting her own personal history on DVD.
Joanne's passing was devastating for me, but I know she went the way she would have wanted - first and quickly, while working, playing and learning on her computer downstairs in her home office. I miss her very much, and when I need to hear her contagious wonderful laugh again, I slip in the DVD we made on her last visit to Utica. Together we had presented a program on the history of the Mohawk Valley Business Women's Network at their September 17th meeting in 2008. She got to see the Network she created and supported still thriving after 27 years. We all loved and miss you Joanne.