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Joanna McQuide

Fitness & Wellness Leader

Why She’s Amazing

Joanna McQuide doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.

Joanna has a unique gift – a willingness to be open to new experiences and opportunities. This gift brought her full circle to positively impact the lives of high school girls at her alma mater, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, an all-girls school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In this role, Joanna is charged with launching an innovative health and wellness program to span the girls’ high school careers. She launched the program with a seasoned physical education instructor and former collegiate football player, sending yet another empowering message to these girls.

Prior to her current role, Joanna has worked in worksite wellness programs on the East coast and in Wisconsin. She also spent 15 years working at Marquette University. During that time, she had the chance to work within the Exercise Science Department, teach Employee Wellness/Fitness classes and be a part of training collegiate athletes.

We had a chance to ask Joanna a few questions. Read on, and we think you’ll find her passion to better the lives of others nothing short of inspirational!

“Always believe you can! If you believe you can, you will!” – Joanna McQuide

Q & A

Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

A: I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live because the people on the show brought laughter into homes.

Q: What did people think when you told them that?

A: I don’t think they took me seriously.

Q: Did people call you “princess” when you were a little girl and, if so, how did that make you feel?

A: I was never much of a “princess” when I was young. I was a bit of a tomboy and loved playing sports. I also enjoyed dressing up and playing with dolls, but I think my persona was more rough and tumble, so I was not labeled as a princess.

Q: How did you become interested in pursuing a career in health, fitness and exercise instruction?

A: I had a variety of interests when I was younger, but I always enjoyed being active. I was never the girl that knew exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. In fact, I took many introductory courses in various fields while in college in search of my ultimate career. In the end, I combined the joy I had working with and counseling others with my love of exercise. I thought Sports Psychology or Athletic Counseling would be a good fit, but then I learned more about Worksite Wellness, and I decided to pursue that path.

Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?

A: My father has always been a great inspiration to me. We have a very special relationship. He supports me in everything I do and continues to be a friend to me every day. My career mentor was a woman named Joan Glubczynski. She was my supervisor when I worked at SC Johnson in Racine as a health and fitness intern. She was a strong, positive and intelligent woman who showed her passion for health in everything she did. Learning from her has made me a better person and advisor in the realm of health and fitness.

Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?

A: I was very lucky to have a supportive family and strong network of friends that always stood behind me in anything I set out to do.

Q: Did you think about being called a “trailblazer” for choosing this path?

A: I honestly did not consider myself a “trailblazer” because I simply chose something I loved and decided to put my heart and soul into it and share it with others.

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Q: What motivates you?

A: I am motivated by seeing happiness in others. I have been blessed to be able to work with a large scope of ages and fitness levels. So whether I help an elite athlete cross train for his or her season or see the benefits of a student getting stronger in my Pilates class, I feel satisfied and accomplished. Helping others feel good about themselves is something I feel I was meant to do.

Q: Of what are you most proud?

A: I am most proud of my desire to continue to learn and grow as a person.

Q: What would you like people to learn from you?

A: Always believe you can! If you believe you can, you will!

Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?

A: Caring. Energetic. Accepting.

Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your professional accomplishments?

A: I enjoy spending time with my family and watching my kids achieve their goals each day.

Q: Who do you follow on social media that shares your passion for wellness and creating new programs for athletic programs, schools and businesses?

A: I follow various fitness organizations including The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, whom would it be?

A: Gilda Radner

Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?

A: That is a difficult question, but honestly someone like Ellen DeGeneres would be a good choice in my mind. Youth and old alike are familiar with her and she not only brings joy to the world, but she stands for equality and believes in giving more than receiving.

Q: What advice would you give to a girl who right now wants to be just like you?

A: I would encourage her to try and experience as much as she can as she looks to her future. Don’t be complacent. We grow from each other, and we should never feel like we know it all. We learn from each other so give of yourself and your talents as well as being open to learning from others.

Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?

A: Did you know you would have the focus you have now when you were younger?

Fun Facts:

  • The last book Joanna read was Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn by John Maxwell.
  • Her go-to karaoke song is any song from the late 80’s.
  • In hindsight, if Joanna could do anything differently, it would be to have tried even more things in her youth that were outside of her comfort zone.
  • Joanna’s favorite quote is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
  • She is currently binge-watching The Blacklist.