Joanne Dwyer

This entry is part 13 of 33 in the series

Joanne Dwyer  N.Y Food BankJoanne Dwyer

Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York

Years with company: 15 years

Current position and your immediate supervisor:
Director of Food Industry Relations & Business Development Representative
Supervisor: Mark Quandt, the Food Bank’s executive director


Education degrees and professional/volunteer affiliations:  

  • Associate’s Degree, Marketing, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Frozen and Refrigerated Association of the Northeast (FRANE), Board Member, 2010-
  • Women’s Employment and Resource Center (WERC), Board Member, 2008-
  • Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2001- (Women’s Business Council Chair, 2007)
  • Venison Donation Coalition of New York State, Board Member 2005-

Mentors and how they have assisted you in your career:
I’ve had many mentors throughout my life. Everyone has their own gifts, style and something to learn from. My dance teacher – Gertrude Hallenbeck, was an inspiration. My parents – I started my career in the food industry with them in the produce business. At the Food Bank – our executive director Mark Quandt, and many staff and committee members. We have achieved tremendous growth thanks to dedication, collaboration and the skills we each bring to the table. This is also true with the women I’ve worked with through the Chamber Women’s Business Council.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements, or a defining moment of your career to date?
Until I worked at the food bank, I did not realize the magnitude of food waste, or the number of people facing hunger. I’ve had many accomplishments, resulting in significant increases in food, funds, and in-kind resources to support our growth in service. In 2010, the Food Bank provided nearly 25 million pounds of food and grocery items to more than 1,000 programs serving over 244,000 people. When I visit agencies I’m always humbled by being treated like a celebrity for something as fundamental as helping acquire and provide food to people in need. Having the privilege of experiencing the face-to-face “thanks” and seeing the positive impact of those efforts are the times I find most rewarding.

Most challenging part of your job:
I have many projects I want to pursue. At times the adage “not enough hours in a day” is a challenge and frustrating, but knowing there are so many opportunities is also invigorating and part of what I love about what I do.

Thoughts or advice for upcoming younger executives:
Get involved with civic or business groups, or specialized trade organizations, and be consistent in your participation. Second, don’t think moving around necessarily means “moving up.” Sometimes it is the right thing, but also consider what you may gain by dedication to the continued growth of where you are and the value that can bring to your life.

A goal for this year is to make more time for hobbies – dance, yoga, reading, traveling, cooking, and my summer vegetable garden.