Joanne Barnes - Global Leader with a STEM Background

Joanne Barnes 

Women Leaders in ILA's Women and Leadership Community: Leadership Lessons We All Can Grow From
Joanne Barnes: Global Leader With a STEM Background
by Randal Joy Thompson

Randal Joy ThompsonRandal Joy Thompson is an International Development Scholar-Practitioner and Founder of the company Excellence, Equity, and Empowerment.

The backstories of the many high caliber women leaders in ILA’s Women and Leadership Member Community (WLC) offer valuable lessons for young women moving into leadership positions and inspire all women leaders to keep pushing, sometimes against all odds, to break the barriers that women face. This article is the fifth in a series that highlights women in the community and shares their stories of perseverance and exceptional achievement. Sketches of their personal lives also provide us a view into how high achieving women balance their work and home lives. Joanne Barnes is an example of an African American woman leader who moved up to become a senior global leader in a male-dominated STEM industry and then transitioned to academia with a plethora of experience to impart to young women seeking leadership positions. Her inspiring story illustrates the power of perseverance and again illustrates the diversity of the women in the ILA WLC.

Joanne Barnes, Global Leader With a STEM Background

Joanne Barnes, the Dean of the Graduate School and Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), is one of ILA’s Women and Leadership Community’s most active and multi-talented leaders. Joanne’s story illustrates how she rose up to be a senior leader in a male-dominated STEM field before women, especially African American women, were represented in significant numbers in this field, and how she translated her experience as a global leader in a STEM company into educating and mentoring global leaders across generations. Her story is an inspiration for young women, especially African American women, who want to enter STEM careers today, and especially those who want to lead globally.

International Leadership Association Board Members

A member of ILA’s Board of Directors, Joanne served as WLC 2018 Chair, has served on the WLC Executive Leadership Committee since 2014, and previously was the Chair of the ILA Business Interest Group. Joanne is currently chairing the June 2020 WLC Conference, to be held at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, which will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women in the U.S. the right to vote. This celebration, as Joanne shared, will provide participants opportunities to explore areas where the women’s suffrage movement began (with a pre-conference excursion to Seneca Falls, NY), interact with scholars and practitioners from around the world, and gain an understanding of the challenges facing women in the 21st century. The conference will bring together emerging scholars and practitioners in collaborative venues; while providing developmental opportunities from such organizations as the New York Writer’s Institute and Ivey Publishing.

In many ways, women’s struggle for suffrage foresaw women’s struggle to become senior leaders in business, especially in STEM businesses, whose doors have been closed to women until very recently.

Joanne worked as a senior manager and leader for Delphi Electronics & Safety, located in Kokomo, Indiana, for over 37 years. In her Global Quality Systems Manager position, she was responsible for leading global teams and implementing global change and driving common quality practices throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America. She drew on her global executive experience in the STEM business sector to become a global leadership guru as part of her academic repertoire. She teaches advanced global leadership theory, globalization and multiculturalism theory, and leadership colloquium courses. Her current research involves cultural intelligence, multicultural leadership, and the cross-transferability of Western-based theories and assessments to Eastern European and Asian cultures. Her PhD Dissertation was titled, “Women Leaders in China: A Comparative Study of the Influence of Culture on Leadership Characteristics of Chinese, Chinese-American, and American Women in China.” As an African American woman, Joanne also writes on her experiences with intersectionality.

Joanne employed her STEM skills in serving as the ILA leadership coach for the 2018 UN WE Empower award winner, Hadeel Anabtawi from Jordan (read this article on their mentoring relationship). The WE Empower Challenge is a global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspiring entire communities to create the world we want by 2030. Five awardees, one from each UN region, are chosen as winners and flown to New York to participate in the UN Global Goals week in a series of trainings and high-level events. ILA provides them leadership coaches who work with them during the year to develop their leadership competencies and provide guidance on their projects.

Hadeel’s project was based on The Alchemist Lab and Go Girls!, whose educational programs have reached more than 25,000 children in Jordan’s largest city, Amman, as well as remote villages and refugee camps. As Joanne recounted her experience, “being a leadership coach was an amazing experience because it resulted in dual learning, but more importantly a friendship and long-term relationship where Hadeel and I will be able to support one another regardless of distance.”

This year, Joanne serves as “Master Leadership Coach” for the 2019 UN WE Empower winners.

Applying her global leadership experience as a leader in a STEM industry, as well as growing up globally as a military third-culture kid, Joanne has become a certified trainer/coach in the Inclusive Behaviors Inventory, Intercultural Effectiveness Scale, Cultural Intelligence, and Global Competency Inventory. She also holds certifications from Aperian Global in the areas of GlobeSmart Profile Assessment, GlobeSmart Team Assessment, and GlobalSmart Leadership Assessment. Joanne also works with universities and businesses in providing assessments and coaching to prepare students, faculty, administrators and business leaders for global assignments as well as multicultural experiences.

In addition to global leadership, Joanne’s research interests focus on women’s leadership and intersectionality, unconscious bias and inclusion, multicultural leadership and intelligences, and mentoring. She has presented at several conferences on leadership and has publications on women and leadership, cultural intelligence, women’s leadership in STEM businesses and in education, and global leadership to name a few.

Some of Joanne’s recent scholarship includes:

  • Barnes, J., Daniels, E. A., & Godette, M. L. (2019, June). Lifting as We Climb: Mentoring Women in Academic Leadership. Building Solutions, Harmony and the Greater Good. Panel discussion conducted at the 4th Women and Leadership conference of the International Leadership Association, Scotts Valley, CA.
  • Howe-Walsh, L., & Barnes, J. (2019, June). Overcoming the Roadblocks to Advancing Women in Leadership: Impression Drives the Change. Building Solutions, Harmony and the Greater Good. Workshop conducted at the 4th Women and Leadership conference of the International Leadership Association, Scotts Valley, CA.
  • Barnes, J., & Grubb, B. (2019, March). Creating Inclusive Cultures Through Intergroup Dialogue & Unconscious Bias Recognition. Engaged Inclusivity: Perceptions, Realities, and Aspirations. Research presentation conducted at the 2019 Diversity, Equity, and Student Success conference of the Association of American Colleges & University, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Barnes, J. (2019, March). Developing Young Entrepreneurial Leaders to Recognize Unconscious Bias. Keynote conducted at the Kokomo CEO Leadership Summit, Kokomo, IN.
  • Barnes, J., Butler, T., & de Castro Calderinha, C. (2018, October). Women and Authentic Leadership: Moving Through Cultural Barriers to Facilitate Positive Change.Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity. Panel discussion conducted at the 20th annual global conference of the International Leadership Association, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • Barnes, J., & Resendez, M. (2018, October). Intersectionality as a Catalyst to Leadership Identities. Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity. Workshop conducted at the 20th annual global conference of the International Leadership Association, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • Bird, A., Howe-Walsh, L., Barnes, J., & Cartwright, C. T. (2018, October). Times Up! How Do We Ensure That Our Leaders Are Equipped to Lead a Globally Diverse Workforce? Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity. Panel discussion conducted at the 20th annual global conference of the International Leadership Association, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • Barnes, J. (2018, September). Mentoring with Emotional Intelligence: Benefiting the Mentor and Mentee Relationship. The 2018 Intentional Women’s Leadership Conference.  Talk presented at the meeting of the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce and Women's Business Council Greater Kokomo, Kokomo, IN.
  • Barnes, J., & Grubb, B. A. (2018, May). Intergroup Dialogue (IGD): Creating Processes for Courageous Conversations to Remove Implicit Bias. Next Generation Leadership. Research workshop conducted at a regional conference of the International Leadership Association, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Bird, A., Osland, J., Liu, L. A., Cartwright, C., & Barnes, J. (2017, October). Global Leadership Development: Models and Best Practice. Leadership in Turbulent Times. Symposium conducted at the 19th annual global conference of the International Leadership Association, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Barnes, J., Bird, A., Cartwright, C., & Grubb, B. (2017, October). Using Intercultural Competencies to Remove Unconscious Bias When Leading. Leadership in Turbulent Times. Research workshop conducted at the 19th annual global conference of the International Leadership Association, Brussels, Belgium.

Joanne holds a Post-Doctorate Certificate in Advanced Global Leadership Studies from San Jose State University; an EdD in Organizational Leadership, an MS in Management, and a BS in Business Administration, all from Indiana Wesleyan University. She also serves on the Board of Houghton College as well as on the editorial boards of several academic journals and book publishers.

Joanne Barnes Karate 

One can better understand how Joanne became a global leader in a STEM business by understanding some of her pastimes. As a Fifth Degree black belt Pia Lum Kung Fu, she is also one of five women who have been inducted in the renowned Trias International Karate Society (Hall of Fame). Joanne trained with Master Bill Wallace and Master Parker Shelton as a full-contact karate fighter and retired undefeated. She holds titles in several divisions at the state (Indiana), and national level for kumite (fighting) and kata. Joanne trained under Masters Phil and Judy Wade of the Kokomo Fire Dragons and taught as an instructor for several years. Joanne is a lifetime member of the Professional Karate Commission and periodically does demonstrations. Studying to be a black belt no doubt contributed to the strength and stamina she drew upon to move into a leadership position in a male-dominated STEM industry.

Joanne is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Omicron Phi Omega chapter. Her graduate sorority is actively involved in service to the community, helping young women (and men) understand the value and importance of education, STEM, and many other projects that are part of the history of the oldest black sorority in the U.S. She has been a member since 1991.

Joanne’s sage advice to young women leaders is to never doubt your self-worth and value. “Find a lifetime mentor who you completely trust and where there is total authenticity on both parts. Aim high, learn from when you fall, pick yourself up proudly, and move ahead.” No doubt, Joanne lived by her advice in her stellar career, as an African American leader, working her way up to a global senior leader position in a STEM industry long before women had senior leadership positions, especially in such male-dominate industries. She serves as a model for us all.