Renewal? Retirement? Can one experience both? Let’s ask Joanne Berryman. She retired in 2019 after serving as provost of Spalding University.
And yet…for Joanne, retirement turned into renewal and gives her the chance to continue putting her leadership skills to good use as president of her company JMB Coaching LLC. This means working some days face to face in Louisville and some days screen to screen from a winter spot in Florida.
Your number one strength?
I’m a relator. I reach out for deeper relationships and am able to connect and influence people. As provost, I worked through the dean’s office and with the program directors. With JMB Coaching I work primarily through Spalding University and Kosair Charities and with mid-level leaders in nonprofit organizations that serve children and families. It’s been a great opportunity for me.
Retirement and COVID-19 came about the same time for you.
Even though I retired from Spalding just months before COVID hit, I stayed on the board and now my coaching work keeps me focused on leadership and philosophy of leadership for nonprofits. I threw myself into that by phone and Zoom meetings and built a coaching and leadership curriculum. So I wasn’t just leaving…I was still engaged and doing important work.
What have you learned about yourself during this not-quite-retirement time?
That I don’t mind being by myself. I’ve known that, but mostly I enjoy being and creating with others. I will say that the move to technology that has come with COVID scared me. I need face-to-face connections with people so I struggled with online meetings. I depend a lot on expressions and body language in communication and those are not the same online. But, it works. I guess basically I’ve also learned that I am flexible.
Learn from your parents?
That hard work pays off no matter what course in life you take. My mom was a stay-at-home mother although she did have a small in-home business. My dad was a first responder and a captain with the fire department. I learned that it was important to be doing something that was useful.
Inertia or maybe I should say procrastination in others…and myself. I tend to push people along, and I have to try to make time for myself.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I love country music and the stories the songs tell. I spent two years in Dallas in the ‘80s. It was a town of line dancing and the two-step. Even today I’m a country music concert goer.
In the ‘90s, I got to attend the CMA Awards at Opryland. I sat right behind Alan Jackson and met LeAnn Rimes and Faith Hill and others. It was all very, very exciting for me.
Performer you would be?
What are you reading?
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It’s about Mexican drug cartels and it has opened up my eyes to what some people have gone through.
Yellowstone. It is one of the best series. I also enjoyed Being the Ricardos on Amazon.
A treasured possession?
I have a Spalding University mission coin that was given to me by a graduate student at her commencement. The mission coin is used by President Tori Murden McClure as a recognition coin. It comes with a handshake and at graduation a student can hand theirs off to someone who has made an impression on them. I treasure that coin.
What changes are you happy to see in Louisville?
I grew up in Portland in the West End, and it’s encouraging to see people roll up their sleeves and bring programs and businesses west of the 9th Street Divide. One I could mention is AMPED, founded by Dave Christopher Sr., that provides a free music program for kids, a free technology training program for adults, and Louisville’s first and only Black business incubator. Also I am grateful for the opportunity to work south of Broadway for 10 years. The city needs to take advantage and build on that corridor.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Illustration by Dan Kisner