Today, my main focus is to share my expertise in manners, etiquette and presentation skills with the future of our society – children; but, I also cater to professionals who want to learn how the right image and business/social etiquette can improve their chances of success. An advocate for education and young people, Joanna uses her down to earth approach to connect with young people. She challenges them to reach for the stars and demonstrates how manners and etiquette play a pivotal role in the choices they make today and in the future.
About The Etiquette Nanny
In my formative years I was tall and thin and pretty shy. I was teased about my weight, height and looks, and although I did not understand it then, I was bullied. I was easily intimidated by my petite, pretty and curvy friends; but, I was more intimidate by my grandmother and one of my teachers Ms Woodley, because neither allowed me to slouch or feel sorry for myself.
My grandmother was 5’ 4” so I did not think she understood what it meant to be the tallest child everywhere I went…..while Ms Woodley was 5’ 10” and the tallest teacher in the school, so it was easy for me to relate to her. They both insisted that one day I would be happy that I was tall, and that one day I would put on some weight….those insights did not help me back then – but both proved to be true!
Serendipity Changed My Life
I started my career as a school teacher and was ‘discovered’ by a talent scout while I was walking along Frederick Street, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The beautiful, petite woman, who literally glided down the street, stopped me and told me that I was beautiful and she wanted me to audition for a fashion show. I was floored, at first I thought she was being funny, because I was accustomed to being teased. Being thin where I came from was not fashionable. This woman turned out to be real, and I did have an audition. I was accepted and my life changed…..suddenly I was walking a cat walk and people were applauding!
That encounter turned my life around; it took me to London, England where I participated in the Commonwealth Fashion Show which led to international modeling stints. I had achieved a level of celebrity status, but ironically my friends and family still thought of and called me ‘ugly girl’ or ‘tall and thin’.
In order to further my career I took up residence and worked in Manhattan, New York. I taught modeling at Barbizon in New York and New Jersey. In my spare time I took image and Etiquette courses. Eventually returned to Trinidad where I opened Joanna’s Looking Glass, co-founded Touté Baghai a fashion boutique, wrote for the Evening News; hosted radio and television programs and trained Miss World and Miss Universe contestants.
Immigrated to Canada, worked at Mt Sinai Hospital to get ‘Canadian’ experience then slowly got back in radio, modeling and image consulting. Co founded the Toronto Chapter of AICI. Soon, I became involved with women entrepreneurs; which paved the way for a new chapter in my life. My interest in entrepreneurship led to a managerial position with the Women’s Business Owners of Canada; a six country tour of Europe on behalf of the Canadian Government; trips to South Africa, South America and various Caribbean Islands; working with entrepreneurial women.
Because my love of teaching never left I continued working with young people, female immigrants and business executives. To keep current I continued to upgrade my knowledge through training courses. My journey has taken a new turn where I find myself wanting to impart my knowledge mainly to the youth in our society; as a result….the Etiquette Nanny was born.