When It Doesn’t Go Your Way, Make It Go Your Way

Joanne Burke-Sherman is a visionary entrepreneur. She is the Owner of JBS Holistic Nutrition and the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Dharma Dreams Vocational Center. It was at a moment of distress that Joanne found the courage and inspiration to take charge and make things happen instead of waiting for someone else to do so. 

Joanne is a mother to a child with a learning disability. Regardless of her circumstances, she lives by changing lives for the better. She shares that she has always been filled with business ideas her whole life. but this is the first time she was really driven to make it happen. “After watching my son’s struggles and frustration with the current system, I knew that establishing something better suited for my son would also be something better suited for many,” Joanne says. She continues, “So, I am doing this for all the moms and dads out there who are going to want this program to exist when their child is ready – just like I wanted it for my child (but it wasn’t quite there yet).

As a child, Joanne had a great life. She was born to loving and caring parents who provided everything she needed. Joanne also had a pretty impressive academic record where she found Mathematics and Science interesting. Joanne completed her BA in Mathematics and MBA in Marketing and Finance from Boston University and Syracuse University respectively. She is also a certified Holistic Health Counselor. 

In the course of her career, Joanne worked in computer systems development, managing large cross functional teams that built marketing databases.“I went back to work after both of my kids were born,” she continues, “but eventually I became a stay-at-home mom to help tend to the needs of my son with a disability”. However, she used this time to research alternative and holistic approaches to caring for her son’s needs, rather than offering him all kinds of pharmaceuticals which many doctors offered. This eventually led to her launching JBS Holistic Nutrition so that she could help others in a natural way. 

All along, however, she was still a mom and an advocate for her child. She kept searching for learning programs that were best for her son. Albeit they had many good teachers along the way, Joanne never felt like she found a program really well suited for her son. She tried to approach many people to launch a new program but she ran into a lot of red tape. 

Instead of losing hope or giving up, Joanne began thinking that she should do something. So, here she is today, making this vision come to life. Dharma Dreams Vocational Center is a special needs program to teach young adults true job skills, in some of the trades, so that they can lead normal and productive lives like everyone else. Many of these students have a passion and skills for these things; but have not been given the proper opportunity to learn them. “The population of students with varying disabilities is growing and we need our educational system to grow and change with them,” says Joanne. 

Since her venture is just getting started, funding is one of the biggest challenges that Joanne faces right now. However, she’s working at fundraising and creating awareness and would love for a generous donor to come along and see the value of this program. Although it is quite a journey as she goes through the process of learning the steps of launching this business, people want her to succeed. She believes that people come into our lives for a reason and so she always meets the right people at the right time. 

Joanne reassures all the women and moms out there, “You are stronger than you know, you are capable of so much”. “When you feel the passion in your heart and you have a joyous spring in your step, then you are on your way to success. Life guides you to where you need to be. Just follow the light. Your path is lit and waiting for you.”