A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs & Cynthia de Lorenzi, authors, Your 2021 What’s Next Journal — Born June 26, 1982, in Silver Spring, MD (just outside of Washington, DC), this former member of the United States Women’s National Team has long taken the world by storm. She last played for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League. Previously, she played for the Washington Freedom and Philadelphia Independence and was the GM of the Washington Freedom Futures, the Washington Freedom Soccer Club’s W-League team.
Joanna’s triumphs on the field are only the start of this truly amazing woman’s career, for she wanted to leverage her success to impact women worldwide. In the last decades, she has used her voice to shine a light on human rights, travel the world, and run programs in less developed nations that promote gender equality, conflict resolution, cultural understanding, and economic development.
“The mission of my life is to help individuals and groups discover their beauty by living an unabashedly authentic life based around deep-rooted acceptance and discovering a comfort in their own skin,” explains Joanna—who Simon Sinek, Optimist and New York Times Best Selling author of “Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last”—describes as a force of nature.
“Joanna is a thunderclap of inspiration!” Sinek shares. “From the moment I met her, I was struck by her ability to help people feel safe in their own skin, to feel proud to be who they are. She has been a positive and inspiring force in my life, and now she can be one in yours too.”
And that’s just for starters! In 2020, Joanna was featured in a documentary released in September called “Resisterhood” — an award-winning documentary about this turbulent time in American politics and the people who rose to meet it.
“I would like to believe it was one of the many things that inspired people to vote in this election,” shares Joanna, who is also working on a book to be published in 2021 entitled “Raising Tomorrow’s Champions.”
“It showcases the personal stories of the 239 women who have been on the US Women’s National Soccer Team,” she says. “We turn their experiences into life lessons on how to succeed in life and sports. It’s basically how to raise a badass young woman on and off the field. What I am most proud of is the first three chapters, which address issues that most parenting books won’t touch: gender inequity, LGBTQ equality, and racism.”
Here’s What’s Next for Joanna
- For your industry: I see women’s sports, especially women’s soccer, growing exponentially, and continuing to garner the attention and awareness that packs stadiums.
- For your company: I see our book, “Raising Tomorrow’s Champions,” coming out in March and a media, book signing tour that covers that entire country and gets us on the New York Times bestseller list.
- For yourself: I see myself traveling the country (virtually or in real life) promoting Raising Tomorrow’s Champions and inspiring the future generations of soccer stars and badass leaders.
- For the country: Emerging from what has been a challenging year dealing with a global pandemic, we are all thirsty for connection and growth.
- For the world: Returning to global travel that encourages culture sharing, sparks innovation, and launches transformative ideas.
- For women: Excelling at every level and assuming leadership positions will give women a seat at the table and decision making power.
Below, you’ll learn What’s Next for this Truly Amazing Woman who teaches us the importance of self-care.
By Joanna Lohman
It’s not every day that you get reminded of your true purpose on this planet. That is exactly what happened to me one fateful morning in November at the International Women’s Forum World Leadership Conference in Toronto.
For that one week, I was surrounded by women who are literally changing the world. I got to hang with Canada’s first and only female Prime Minister, two Nobel Peace prize winners in SCIENCE. The first woman to walk in space, Olympians and Paralympians in all different sports, and the founder of Capital Sisters, giving microloans to women in poverty and helping to lift them out of it. So much badassness.
On top of all of that, something happened that I will never forget. It was the first morning of the conference, and I was getting into the elevator to head down to the morning sessions. I was dressed professionally and had my makeup on. For me, that’s like hitting my feminine peak. It was the first day of the women’s world leadership conference, so I felt powerful and confident.
When I walked into the elevator, a male employee was cleaning the mirrors. With full Canadian gusto, he says, “Good morning, SIR!!!” In an instant, the wind was taken out of my sails. I respond in my feminine voice, “Good morning.” He looks back at me in pure confusion and angst for misgendering me. I can feel his awkward gaze, and I say, “I am a woman.” He quickly apologizes, and we ride 22 floors down in uncomfortable silence before we reach the lobby.
To put it into context, this is not a unique occurrence for me, but it typically happens when I am in my sports clothes with no makeup. Luckily for me, I had 22 floors to process. When I stepped off the elevator, I honestly had the biggest smile on my face because it was such a human moment. It powerfully reminded me how closely we cling to gender norms, stereotypes, and assumptions. We all have biases, and this situation proved that they exist without us even knowing it at times. And these biases hold us all back. They stunt progress and limit growth.
That morning, I felt no shame, only pride and affirmation of why I was put on this planet, and that is to define my own beauty and help others define theirs.
Getting to the point where I feel proud to be unabashedly myself has not been easy. There have been many occasions where I have bent my body and broken my soul to fit in the restrictive boxes society presents us as realistic options for identity. I lived the first 21 years of my life as a straight woman. Now, I am a gender non-conforming, androgynous, gay human, who has overcome devastating injury, defeat, heartbreak, and traveled to over 45 different countries. I faced a situation after situation that forced me to question my character and deep-rooted identity. All this time, I have never stopped exploring – eyes wide open, understanding we are all connected through our desire to love and be loved.
Now, I want to help you feel the same comfort in your own skin, and I have created a way to do it. My online course, Define Your Beauty, is a journey into your heart and soul to discover the qualities that truly make you, you.
- Through real-life stories of vulnerability and adversity, participants create a brave space for deep personal reflection that enables them to uncover unique aspects of their identity and love what they contribute to the world.
- Participants learn to harness the power of their uniqueness and gain the confidence to share their beauty with the world.
- Growing into your beauty, you will understand how to bring it out of others, in turn, creating a community of belonging where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and define their own beauty.
When I think back about being called “sir” while in Toronto, I often wonder if the misgendering was more than appearance, was it also because I walked in with such confidence, the hotel staffer assumed I had to be a man? Was it because I unapologetically took up space in that small elevator? Whatever the reason(s), I refuse to shrink to other assumptions. I now know I have the power to define my beauty, and I am giving that power to you!
To register for the course, click here.