We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna Pera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After having a long career in corporate America, I decided to take the leap and start my own leadership development coaching business, Powered by Pera. There are so many benefits to working in a large company. I found year after year that as companies grew their profits, they also grew a cookie cutter approach to leading and developing others.. When leading people, all different kinds of people, a cookie cutter technique doesn’t always work. So, I reflected on what I learned and tweaked it to create a high personal touch coaching business. My clients are leaders at both big and small companies that want to grow professionally, develop their teams and accelerate growth. Often clients seek me out because they are seeking a promotion and need to develop some specific skills to be considered. I have the same foundation for my art business, Joanna Pera Arte. While most artists have a recognizable style, I don’t. Just as with my coaching, I leave the cookie cutter approach behind and seek new and different ways to paint for clients. The commission work I do ranges from bold florals and landscapes to colorful animals to free flowing portraits. I love painting all subjects with animals, pets and wildlife, being my favorite. Acrylic and watercolor are my preferred mediums. I am working on four pieces now with my favorite being a large abstract full of color and texture. I’ve created a pair of businesses that are fun, meaningful and exciting.
What should our readers know about your business?
You know what I am excited about? Life.
I’ve created a business that I enjoy so much that I am thrilled to wake up each day to help my clients create momentum towards their goals. There are three arms to Powered by Pera; coaching, consulting, and public speaking. I enjoy each aspect and really get jazzed about helping leaders and business owners achieve success through how they lead their teams and how they lead themselves. What sets me apart is an unmatched commitment to high personal touch service paired with a direct approach to accountability. You want to grow in your current role? You want your team to perform better? You want to handle work situations more effectively? These are situations where I can help.
When I started my business, a former colleague said to me “I could never start a business. I’d be too scared.” Guess what? I was scared too. Really scared. Really, really scared. So what made it work? I am relentless in my efforts to realize my dream. I have learned to embrace the hard parts of starting and maintaining a business. Generating and sustaining momentum is one of my core beliefs. Being a lifelong learner, I love to read. Good to Great is a business book written by Jim Collins. The concept of momentum was introduced in this book by illustration of a flywheel. It’s hard to get going but once it goes, it goes. I use this concept in my business every single day.
Joanna Pera Arte is just a joy. To create for others is a honor. When someone purchases a piece of my work, they are purchasing hours of focus and thought, mistakes and do overs, emotions both high and low. This business grew out of a hobby. I always loved to paint. Being fearless with color was where it all started. A purple chimp, a fuschia giraffe, a neon flower. It was through the many artists and teachers that I learned technique. Color is delicious. All of it!
Right now I am working on a piece for a client in North Carolina. It’s of two banker horses in the water with a beautiful lighthouse in the background. Another one that’s in process is a large bold painting of flowers with lots of texture. Last year I had the pleasure of creating a large 36 x 36 piece for Giving Tree Yoga and Wellness in Smyrna. It is a Tree of Life. I used different colors of metallic paints for the bark and it turned out beautiful!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooooooh, I love this question!
Absolutely would have to go to West Egg at least once. Maybe twice and Ok Cafe for a close second!
During the day, a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens would be perfect. Anyone who enjoys flowers and artistic landscape would appreciate ABG. Dinner and live music all around! My top pics for dinner are Soho, Ecco, Cafe Sunflower, One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Rathbun’s. We also would have to go to Scottsdale Farms nursery which is an amazing source of unique plants and flowers.
And of course, yoga classes at Giving Tree Yoga.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While I believe I learn from every interaction and person, there is one person who really stands out in my career. His name is John Graham. He was a supervisor of mine years ago. I’ll never forget what made him so special. He knew how to lead people. He was able to get people moving. He shared his knowledge freely, praised often and always gave constructive feedback in a way that inspired action. He took interest in my professional development and supported my career advancement. He also had a knack for bringing people together and frequently assigned his team members to work on specific projects together, a technique I now recommend to my clients. I am forever grateful for his mentorship. In terms of my painting, I have been incredibly fortunate to have had several outstanding teachers. All were so different, I can’t pick just one! Some were more focused on process, while others were more focused on the importance of technique. I continue to focus on my artistic journey and trust Amberly Hood and Jessica Lockler of Studio 23 in Smyrna with my continued development.