I was brought up in a traditional, immigrant family to strive for perfection and pursue our version of the perfect American life: Get great grades in school, get into graduate school or medical school, and, if you can't be a highly respected, high-paying professional like a doctor or an engineer, marry someone who's an MD or a PhD and give birth to two well-behaving children (preferably a boy and a girl, in this order). I learned that being a hard-working Taiwanese daughter who made her family proud was paramount, while the pursuit of personal happiness (a concept, of course, encouraged by American culture) wasn't supposed to be a major focus. If I were ever seen as overly focused on myself and what I wanted, I would be scolded for being selfish.
My plan for a medical career started derailing during my freshman year of college, when I became disillusioned with my studies and started questioning the meaning of life - in my dorm's laundry room. "Is this it?" I wondered sadly as I looked up from my textbook, washers and dryers rumbling in the background. I continued my questioning and later found myself in the personal and spiritual development sections of local bookstores, attending a meditation class, and eventually going on spiritual retreats, including shamanic vision quests. In my immediate family we rarely discussed religion or spirituality while I was growing up. So I was left to figure things out on my own.
It took me many years to learn to trust my inner wisdom, find my own voice, and own and speak the truth of who I really am and what I am here to do, as I navigated through the many bumps in my career and dating journeys - ever so imperfectly.
Having been there, I am here to help ambitious women live from their Best/Higher Self (which is wise, centered, confident, and creative) and access their gifts so that they can stop living somebody else's life, get out of the cage of convention, and fly free. I know that I can't take away all of these women's suffering as they navigate their life paths the best that they can. But at least I can help them feel more prepared and capable, and less alone on the journey.
An Asian American immigrant not quite fitting into the model minority role, Leadership and Life Coach Joanne Chen broke out of her conventional background to create her own unique path, which allows her to share her gifts in the world. She is here to help people who desire to play big and powerfully in the world, to break out of the status quo so that they can experience the freedom of being their true selves.
For over 20 years Joanne went on a journey of personal and spiritual discovery. She’s been on three paths simultaneously: corporate, spiritual, and creative. Throughout her career she had served others in human development roles, such as university teacher, training facilitator, elearning developer, and speech coach. At the same time, she had her other foot on the spiritual path, studying meditation, consciousness, mindfulness, going on adventure after adventure, including shamanic vision quests. On her third path as a creative, she did theatre, music, improv/stand-up comedy, and public speaking in Toastmasters. Her journey was not linear nor simple. For many years her focus was split among these different worlds. Yet, several reinvention points in her life (e.g., health challenges, heartbreak, layoffs) compelled her to re-examine her life/career choices and shift gears, ultimately accepting what she uniquely has to offer while paving her own path one step at a time.
It was a combination of logic and intuition that helped her navigate her personal journey of transformation, which has enabled her to help others design their own paths. Her approach is pragmatic, direct, and intuitive – connecting with the mind and heart while combining a multitude of approaches and tools. Joanne has the ability to help you cut to the core of the issue that you are grappling with. She helps people see and accept the truth of who they are so that they can step out courageously into the world as their powerful selves.
Certified Professional Coach, Leadership That Works
Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach
True Purpose® Trained Coach, True Purpose Institute
Certified Professional Intuitive Coach, Career Intuitive Coach Training Institute
Organization Development Specialist (specializing in staff development), SDSU Academy for Professional Excellence
Training facilitator (in-person & on-line), instructional designer, eLearning developer, university teacher, editor, speech coach, communication specialist
Education & Select Training
M.A., Sociology, Rutgers University
B.A., History (concentration: History of Science), UC Berkeley
Coursework in Parts Work/Internal Family Systems (IFS) with Jay Earley and Guthrie Sayen
UCSD and UCLA Business Courses
Hatch & Clients on Demand Business Coaching/Training Programs
Action Learning Certificate from the Association for Talent Development
Meditation Facilitator Training, Meditation Initiative
Meditation classes, including "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction"
Non-Violent Communication Introductory Workshop with Eliane Geren
Shamanic vision quests with Sacred Journeys
Tony Robbins's Unleash the Power Within
Improvisational comedy, theatre, voiceover, public speaking, music (voice, piano, flute), stand-up comedy
Photo (above) Credit: Bronwyn Huddleson
Welcome from Joanne!
Joanne just finished recording her interview, titled "The Funny Thing about Intuition," for the "Intuition for Everyday Living" Masterclass!
Joanne having fun with standup!
I am passionate about creating a world where people don’t have to hide or be ashamed of who they are,