Joanne Ritter builds relationships and understanding through communication. She uses her extensive experience in marketing, branding, and strategic communications to advance fundraising, advocacy, and visibility for heart-centered causes. Joanne promotes awareness and action through compelling content for print, websites, social media, and blogs. She is a skilled interviewer, transforming conversations into podcasts, articles, solicitations, testimonials, quotes, and opinion pieces. An expert speaker, presenter, and voice-over narrator, she also offers media coaching and script preparation.
As Director of Marketing and Communications for Guide Dogs for the Blind, she lead the organization through a major re-branding and strategic planning effort that had far-reaching impact. Through presentations, messaging, and an integrated advertising campaign, she redefined the organization’s purpose from “training the best mobility dogs” to “creating the best partnerships to improve quality of life”. The interdependent relationship between a guide dog and its blind partner is inspirational as a metaphor and model of all successful partnerships. By leveraging partnerships, the organization discovered new resources, opportunities, and innovations.
Her sensitive handling and promotion of the story of World Trade Center survivor Michael Hingson, whose guide dog Roselle led him down from his office on the 78th floor of the North Tower and away from the collapsing buildings to safety, propelled the organization into the international spotlight.
Joanne received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Brockport. A devotee of life-long learning, she has received numerous certifications from advanced training programs including: the Center for Nonprofit Volunteer Leadership’s Marin Leaders Institute and Emerging Leaders Program; Resolution Vision Training; the Franklin Covey Speed of Trust program; and Master Practitioner coaching in Neuro-Linguistic Programming from the NLP Institute of California. Her work has received numerous awards, including: Web Marketing Association Award for Nonprofits, Bulldog Reporters Award for Nonprofits, and PR Week Nonprofit Team of the Year Award for Public Relations.
Joanne enjoys hiking, jazz, politics, podcasts and webinars. She studies motivation and is intrigued by the emergence of innovative models, discoveries, and techniques in education, healthcare, and neuroscience.
Bill Toliver, Founder and Executive Director, Matale Line:
“I have the pleasure and privilege of working with some of the most talented leaders in nonprofit and civil society organizations around the world, and would count Joanne to be among the very best. She spearheaded a strategic planning and re-branding initiative that has transformed how Guide Dogs for the Blind operates.”
Peter Engler, CEO, Created in San Francisco, Company History Press:
“Joanne’s interviewing and writing style is thoughtful, creative and professional. Her work with me on Created in San Francisco© shows she understands how personal stories forge a connection between our heritage and our future. She is a smart, resourceful writer and editor, and makes you glad to have her on your team.”
Jim Dickman, VP, LewisDirect:
“Joanne has the rare gift to think strategically and then write to the targeted audience(s). I have worked with her close to 10 years. She makes the people she interviews comfortable and open. The perfect combination of concern, caring, expertise and professionalism.”
Michael Hingson, Author of Thunder Dog, Motivational Speaker:
“Joanne is one of the most knowledgeable and solid people I know. She has coordinated the public relations and public information efforts of Guide Dogs for the Blind for many years. In 2001 after my fifth guide dog, “Roselle”, and I escaped from the World Trade Center Joanne realized how our story could vastly aid the development and public exposure efforts of GDB. At the same time her work with me was sensitive and solid during that horrifying time.
“Joanne thinks very much outside the box. During my work with her since 2001 she has proven to be a great friend, a wonderful colleague, and someone who is willing to advise as well as listen. Anyone seeking information on how to work in the public information arena can find no better person to advise or emulate than Joanne.” Read about WTC 9-11 survivor Michael Hingson and Roselle in Thunder Dog.
Be sure to read “Oh, no. I don’t do that!”