life so far

I am on an interesting trip.

Little Joanie

Born in Cambridge, Minnesota, I grew up acting in school plays (my first appearance as a green light bulb was particularly inspiring). Always looking for a self-deprecating laugh, I believed my destiny was to be Carol Burnett. Finding out the position had been filled — quite well actually — was tough to swallow, but I carried on.

I performed on stage in college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, in summer stock, and, finally, at Warner Brothers Film Actors Workshop in LA, where no one could be convinced to be impressed by me.

Ever resilient, I proceeded to Stage Two of my career.

In television news, I started out acting like a news anchor and reporter, but then learned on the job at the NBC affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota. By the time I left for an anchor job at KARE-TV (NBC) in the Twin Cities two years later, I had figured out my favorite part of the job — telling people’s stories and having the license to ask people almost anything. At KARE, I started looking for people Joan - National Emmyand stories to uplift the viewers, and in the process won quite a few awards, including a national Emmy (the only one that made it into the living room) and the Grand Award from the New York International Film Festival (I share that one with “the hubby.”) My favorite achievement, though, was getting 40 thirty-second spots on the air at KARE called “Something to Think About.” They were meant to encourage and inspire myself and my two beautiful daughters, and I think they did.


Stage Two is getting a little long, so we may as well move on to Stage Three.

I went looking for a way to be creative, laugh more, and have a little extra time for my family. I found a job hosting Decorating Cents on HGTV. Based on the premise that you can make a 500-dollar budget stretch all the way around a room, the show inspired viewers to re-use, re-cycle, and re-imagine design. I laughed more and hugged more people during the eleven years and 400 episodes on Decorating Cents than you can imagine. My “work” led me to appearances on Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, The CBS Early Show, the Today show, and Entertainment Tonight to name a few. While at HGTV, I hosted many of the top rated specials, including six Dream Homes, several Christmas at the White House specials, and The Rose Bowl Parade.

Ready for Stage Four?

So am I. This is the moment where it all comes together, right?  I am in the middle of an optimistic, spiritually centered Stage Four, encouraging myself and all of us to recognize that we are magnificent just as we are, and that there is magic all around us, just waiting for us to find it.

In 2010, magic found me when my first book, “…and she sparkled”, was published. As if that weren’t joyful enough, I was asked to follow that up with a second book, “peace in peace out”, in 2012. They are each in their second printings through Tristan Publishing.

It was funny. I guided the books into being and then they guided me. I went out and spoke to group after group about them and found that, after years of avoiding public speaking, I actually loved it when I could speak from my heart and about the heart. So, that’s what I do now. I speak to groups of all sizes about how much we all matter in this world, how kindness to yourself and others is the path to world peace.

Speaking of world peace, I am also the co-founder of “peace begins with me (a small BIG peace project)” — a non-profit that asks the question, “What if you are responsible for world peace?” The answer I keep getting is that I am.

I think this Stage Four could last a while.


Here is a little about who I am now.