Hopefully by now you have come to know Fernweh Society as a hub for boss lady profiles, advice and inspiration! I find nothing more inspiring than learning about other women who have taken it upon themselves to rise above and build the life they love.
I had the immense opportunity to sit down and have a heart to heart with Joan Kelley Walker and my mind was BLOWN. The specific occasion was due to the fact that she was the closing keynote speaker at Toronto Start Up Fashion week; another topic that is dear to my heart and coming soon to the blog!
Many know Joan more recently from The Real Housewives of Toronto, which Joan actually let me in on a secret that it was originally supposed to be The Real Housewives of Muskoka and was later switched to Toronto. She was one of the first selected and got to see the show form from there. From watching bits and pieces of the franchises in other cities I would have been a little nervous to be on the show in the first place. Joan in fact shared that sentiment and also confided that she hadn’t really watched the other shows so this wasn’t even a thought to her. In addition to that Joan has many years of experience being in front of and behind the camera so she had a bit of a leg up!
Joan’s background was particularly interesting to me because we are both from Saskatchewan! Joan is originally from Wilcox, SK and moved to Toronto for university. At that time, she was only just beginning to build her empire. We got to talking about life, perseverance and of course everything on her impressive resume of experience. In that there were a few nuggets of wisdom that stood out for me and seemed completely appropriate for young girlbosses at the beginning of their journeys.
This was something that really was highlighted by Joan as we were speaking. One of the anecdotes that she shared was about a woman named Mrs. Hiscott from the famous Hiscott Beauty & Theatrical Supplies. Joan went on to say how much she learned from Mrs. Hiscott and others in the industry. This is one of the many reasons why Joan, herself takes time and makes effort to provide mentorship to other women starting their journey.
Joan shared a story of being a new model on set. She was fascinated by the crew and their varying roles and responsibilities. She became a master in front of the camera and behind the camera because she asked people about their jobs! It is so easy to stay in your comfort zone, but Joan has really shown that by being diligent, doing your homework and just by asking people about what they do she soon became a Joan of all trades!
Carrying the theme of personal research and diligence, Joan highlighted networking as something that every professional woman should put an emphasis on. From her personal experience she highlighted a contact turned friend of whom she met years ago who in fact was the one to present Joan with the opportunity to host Red Carpet Diary! Joan believes that a nurturing relationship is part of the business, and you never know where it will one-day lead.
I specifically asked Joan what her top piece of advice would be to young, professional women. She answered,
. . . you cannot be too hard on yourself, there will always be hurdles but you need to see them as learning opportunities. . . sometimes it might be tough, but you always need to believe in yourself . . .
This simple thought runs so deep. I truly believe that many accomplished, strategic women are their own worst critics. This ends up creating unnecessary pressure and stress. We need to have the confidence to continue and realize that the errors or set backs are simply there to make us stronger.
To end off my lovely prosecco filled chat with Joan we did a fun quick-fire round . . .
The last thing you bought was: An astronaut baby outfit for a friend’s child at the National Museum of Air & Space in Washington DC
The outfit that makes you feel like a boss is: When I wear dresses! I don’t feel like I need to dress like a man to feel powerful
The next exciting things on deck for you are: Being a spokesperson for Galderma for their Skin Boosters line as well as launching Joan Kelley Walker fashion line which is coming soon!
When I asked Joan how she felt being labeled as a “housewife” when she is a self-made woman, she answered,
. . . we are a group of intelligent, charismatic and dynamic women who are changing the
pop culture definition of this word. . .
Joan Kelley Walker, along with the other women on The Real Housewives of Toronto are changing the definition. They are creating a new tribe of women who support other women and build the lives that they love.
I hope you enjoyed learning a few tips from Joan as much I did. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter or check out her website to learn more about the incredible things Joan has on the go from Philanthropy to Red Carpet Diary!