If you’re in entrepreneurship in New York City, you know Joanne Wilson, especially among the women entrepreneurs I talk to. She’s prominent in the New York entrepreneurial world, as well as art, travel, food
A lot of investors live stressful lives. Joanne doesn’t. As you’ll hear in our conversation, she also leads a rewarding life, which you’ll also read in any of her blog posts or hear in any of her podcast episodes — the happiness, fun, and emotional reward she describes her life with. I think it results from her focus on people, relationships, and community.
Like any great leader, she focuses on people. The first thing she does after vetting people she invests in is to support them.
Our conversation covers more personal leadership, but her success points to what I think environmental leaders could learn from her. Environmental work overwhelmingly focuses on science, politics, compliance, and facts. Until they focus on people, it’s hard to call many of them leaders. Seeking compliance or browbeating people with facts, no matter how science-backed, or laws, no matter how well-meaning, won’t get results. Nor will people enjoy it and keep doing it after your extrinsic incentives go away.
That’s why I could only start trying environmental leadership when I found reducing my waste to about 10% of the average American improved my life. Yes it took time, just like Joanne doesn’t blindly invest but has to vet people and research.
I didn’t press her on taking on a new challenge, partly because she told me when I arrived to her office about just having reduced plastic in her office. Partly because she just built her house and is building other new homes that way.
Also, I see her around New York, so the next time I see her, I’ll ask her if she’s done anything new by then. I predict she will have and I’ll invite her for a second episode.
Read the transcript.