It is not easy to pursue one’s dreams, especially if naysayers urge us to stop as soon as a roadblock is up ahead. Yet, a common trait among the successful few is their immovable determination despite all the trials and obstacles thrown their way. Others call it stubbornness. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Joanna Danielle Olsen calls it determination. Joanna’s 25 years in business tested her commitment to her dream, and she has risen above adversity every time.
“I have learned to never give up no matter what obstacles come my way. Each city has brought its individual challenges that I have had to overcome,” shared Joanna about her business venture that has expanded throughout the country.
Joanna’s exciting adventure into business and entrepreneurship started when she was young. She has always been passionate about architecture and design. Unfortunately, at a young age, she had to earn money to send in her university applications. Already encountering a roadblock at the start of one’s journey would have easily discouraged some people from pursuing the path further. But Joanna was strong-willed. Not to mention, her parents have always been nothing but supportive of her dreams. They always reminded her that she could do anything she wanted, which is why she managed to attend and graduate from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture through sheer perseverance and hope.
Almost immediately after graduation, she worked for top design firms in Atlanta. Later, she and her friends had the idea of opening a nightclub that would serve as a melting pot of all things fashion, art and music. They successfully opened Paradox by taking inspiration from her travels around the globe and the art shows she attended. Later, this will serve as the gateway venture for Joanna’s deep dive into the entrepreneurial pool. In 2000, she won Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year for her achievements in business as well as her community outreach efforts.
Her entrepreneurial career was further solidified when she was offered a deal by fellow business owner Liliana Lovell whom she met on one of her trips to New York. Liliana is the founder of the globally-famous themed bar Coyote Ugly Saloon. Joanna opened her franchise in Tampa, which is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary soon. Within a few years, she opened three more branches in Tampa, Atlanta, and Panama City Beach.
Now a seasoned businesswoman, Joanna leads by example for her community with her philanthropic efforts, such as providing supplies for the homeless and contributing to several organizations in the area. Her empathy is also well-known among her employees, who can attest to her warmhearted management style. Joanna recognizes that her staff contributes significantly to the success she has earned through the years. Therefore, she does not hesitate to give them the proper compensation and assistance, especially during the pandemic.
In contrast to the stereotypical businessman’s stark and cold image, Joanna demonstrates the loyalty and success one can have as a result of kindness and empathy. The steps she has taken in her career are done in the context of friendship and passion. A testament to the long-observed “pay-it-forward” lifestyle, Joanna inspires budding entrepreneurs and other people in the industry as much as her parents first inspired her to reach for her dreams.