Leadership Level-up: A black, female entrepreneur gives valuable coaching and business lessons

TL;DR, Summary, Breakdown, Synopsis

  • Joanie Baucum-Robinson taught a synthesis of valuable lessons to community leaders
  • A diverse group of students were able to connect and apply lessons weekly
  • Students supported each other, strengthening community
  • Joanie is a charismatic force

For the past 8 weeks, I’ve been taking Joanie Baucum-Robinson’s Leadership Level-up at the Community Forge in Wilkinsburg, PA. In the past I’ve read books by Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, and Michael Porter. I’m familiar with Jim Collins and Jim Doerr. What do I have to learn? —Honestly, everything—great leadership is practice and you can build habits, but you always need to be thinking and feeling about how to be a better leader.

I put in 12 hours of time with Joanie in her class to “Be Better On Purpose,” and took in Joanie’s unique perspective.

Joanie is a force in the classroom, a source of intense energy. She has a tattoo on her arm which reminds her to slow down, breathe, and take in the opinions of others. Joanie is influenced by John C. Maxwell and W.E. Deming. In her professional career, Joanie is a continuous improvement leader. It shows. She is constantly moving, constantly looking for ways to look at things in a different way, constantly figuring out where she can make a tweak to make a breakthrough.

One reason I found Joanie’s class was an active search to broaden my context and community. I was the only white man in the business class, making the class more diverse. Most of the other students were small business owners with real, thriving businesses around cleaning, remodeling, and bookkeeping. I was the only one with the the modern tech sensibility (or sickness) of GROW! SCALE! The lessons, bringing empathy, setting boundaries, knowing your own strengths, were all applicable, and need to be brought to the tech world of burnout and growth for sake of growth. I made some new friends, T, Dee, Angelica, deepened my connection with TJ and Glenn and broadened my network.

If you are looking for a coach, I think Joanie could just be the next big thing.

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