August 31, 2018

Joan Sanger

Joan Sanger received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D. from the University of Texas Law School.  After studying in England and managing a successful political campaign in Austin, Joan worked for two Texas political leaders who took her outside the chain of command so she could innovate. She was the staff attorney for Texas State Senator Chet Edwards and she specialized in consumer legislation, initiating and negotiating massive reform bills.  They were all successfully passed into law including many reforms of the adult criminal justice system. She was the Senate chief of staff in charge of passing the entire high tech package for Texas.

She began working for State Treasurer Ann Richards in 1987 as a policy advisor to Mrs. Richards and as the Ethics advisor and program director to the Treasury.  She initiated and designed the Treasury ethics policy and seminar series. She advised the Treasurer on insurance, criminal justice, civil justice, utility, drug and alcohol and ethics issues.  She later wrote all but three issue papers for Ms. Richards’ successful bid for Texas Governor in 1990.

Joan began her ethics training firm in 1989 and provided services to 23 Texas state agencies—including a comedy ethics video called, “I Want to Be Good, So Bad.”  She handled an ethics training project for the Province of Ontario, and a large ethics review and plan for the Government of Canada, PWGSC. Joan designed and taught a University of Waterloo course in leadership, creative thinking, project design, communications and entrepreneurship as well as being their U.S. Co-op Science Job Liaison. She still provides leadership and ethics training for public and private entities.  She has conducted over 500 seminars worldwide.

Joan went on two U.S. State Department missions, one to assist the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to develop ethics government monitoring systems and leadership training, career and economic development programs for unemployed Jordanians, especially women. The other missions were to Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Rwanda to handle similar programs.  

Current Work:

She currently has Internet businesses and handles the ethics training work only by request.  The first program at assists displaced workers.  It has or has had American Airlines, many counties in Texas and Colorado, the Communications Workers, Senior Service America, IAM Boeing, several youth programs, SER–Jobs for Progress National, and others as clients—the program can be used for anyone regardless of whether they read in Spanish or English. She serves displaced workers, seniors, youth, Veterans, and ex-offenders.  The only major pilot run on the tool came back at a 99% approval rating by the users, and her early marketing partners were the American Probation and Parole Association and Monster. Joan also has a complete online self-employment tool for people regardless of their reading ability. These tools will be licensed to United Ways for distribution and implementation in 2018.

Two other online tools are planned for 2019, a six-month applied leadership program and a green lifestyle marketplace.  The latter is in conjunction with a non-profit environment project. She also assists a talent management company on values development to target millennials.

Main Volunteer Activities, past and present:

  • Five-year President of the Foundation for the Association for Retarded Citizens/Texas  
  • Mentor for 6 years through Communities in Schools
  • Legislative Chair, Texas Young Lawyers
  • Only non-Judicial Member of the Texas Judicial Ethics Task Force in 1990
  • Member of the 1988 National Democratic Platform Committee
  • Implementation Director and Committee Member, Team Kitchener
  • Chairwoman, Restaurant Project Committee, Kid’s Ability in Waterloo
  • Chairwoman of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin’s election Ethics and Public Policy Reform Platform Committee
  • Chairwoman of Waterloo Collegiate Institute Parent Council
  • Mentor to two companies in HyperDrive Startup Incubator in Kitchener, ON
  • Member of Social Venture Partners
  • Current Member of the National Advisory Board of the Harmony Project of America
  • Founder of a new homeless women’s art co-operative program in Santa Barbara, CA.  

IP and Start Up Work:

Besides the current work listed above, Joan has a patent, No. 2008/8,659,434, for a social service portable tool for clients transitioning from a prison, the military or a hospital.  Joan was in GTAN, an Ontario VC network, and is an investor in 6 Canadian startups, mainly social enterprises. She was the first investor in Guiltless Gourmet of Austin back in 1985 and has invested in two other healthcare startups in the U.S.  

New Fun Projects and Personal Info:

Joan works on community reform projects in several locales and travels between the U.S. and Canada for pleasure and business. She will begin assisting GreenHouse at the University of Waterloo to bring in creative social entrepreneurs.  She recently wrote and will publish four teen-oriented books for girls, called, “Damsels in Excess™.” She produced a humorous social commentary/photography show (October, 2017 to January, 2018) for THEMUSEUM in Kitchener, featuring photos of shop window mannequins who are looking out at us and seem to be having more fun than we are, as we gaze at our electronic gadgets. It is part of a bigger, edgy, fun show about human interaction soon to tour various U.S. locations in 2019.

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