Joan McBeath is a qualified life coach and mediator who has experience in managing large organisational budgets and teams, as well as her own small business. She draws on all of this in her work as a Business Mentor, and it only takes a few moments of bubbly discussion to see how much passion she brings.
Joan McBeath has been a Business Mentor for over five years and is based in Taupō. She says she recognised a need and a great opportunity with mentoring. "I find it fascinating to meet interesting people, find out about their companies and help them make worthwhile links.
"I like helping people to find and realise their strengths. I'm really interested in people having a balance in their lives. And you know, if you're not looking after yourself, you can't look after anything else, and things can go awry very easily."
Joan spent her corporate career in the education sector. She managed a vast budget and over eighty staff. She learned a lot about process, management and finance in that role but says it couldn't prepare her for everything she faced when she went into business for herself.
"I went from there to owning a wine shop on Waiheke Island, which I had for ten years. Before, there had always been someone above or around you who were part of the process. But as a business owner, it all comes down to you, and it's very real. It's your head on the chopping block.
When she moved to Taupō, Joan got involved in hospitality, opening a cocktail bar and then a café. As a natural entrepreneur, she even became a partner in a building company, which she says was way out of her comfort zone. "I think it's important to understand your industry. I am a firm believer that you need to be hands-on. Then, you learn from your mistakes."
As a Business Mentor, Joan can help others avoid mistakes by learning from her experience and gaining the benefit of her insights and expertise.
"I spend time working with people to make sure they have time for themselves as well as their business because there are so many challenges.
"A big one is staffing; finding the right people and keeping them is hard. And then there's the huge price of rent and compliance costs. Climate change and the need to make your business more green is another thing business owners must figure out." Joan knows how important it is to have the right support.
The success of others is satisfying.
Joan says, "Hopefully, I've been helpful to some people, and there are so many highlights.
"I've been working with a couple of young women with an outfit called 'Misfit Gardens'. They're very passionate about what they do and so fun to work with. They take produce from growers that would otherwise be thrown away and then find buyers.
"I suggested they entered our local business awards, the Stella Awards. They were a little cautious, but I told them you've got to be in to win. And they did win! They took the prize for the Green Gang category, and they absolutely deserved it."
When her mentees succeed or overcome a challenge, Joan feels deeply rewarded. So much so that she has made it her mission to encourage others to give Business Mentoring or any sort of volunteering a go. Her latest project is the Volunteer Great Lake Taupō hub, an initiative of Taupo Council of Social Services.
Joan secured funding for a caravan which she takes around the community as her mobile office, where she helps people find out about volunteering.
"When people come and see me, I find out about what they're interested in. It could be animals, young children or whatever. And then I connect them with opportunities – we've got about 45 organisations," she says. "I've have had a lot of support from individuals and businesses and the community at large, and I've loved it."
The adage of 'asking a busy person' rings true with Joan. It's clear that the more she contributes and helps others, the more she's energised. Our other Business Mentors often say the same thing. Keen to know more? Check out more Mentor profiles here, our training for Mentors here or start your application here.