Joanna Callaway

Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this profile we feature Joanna Callaway.  Photography for the series is by Cade Martinwardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.

Joanna, please provide us a short bio.

I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and spent the first 15 years of my life as a military brat, traveling around the country from one U.S. Army base to another. After military retirement, my parents decided to move our family of six back to their hometown of Richmond, Virginia., and Richmond has been home for me ever since.

I graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – go Hokies! – and shortly after began working as a healthcare marketing account executive for Bon Secours, a local non-profit Catholic health system. Five years later, I joined Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Henrico, Parham and Retreat Doctors’ Hospitals – a 767 licensed bed facility that consists of three hospitals and two free-standing emergency centers in Richmond’s metropolitan area.

Outside of my day job, you can find me at the local indoor cycling studio, running on Monument Avenue or bellied up at a good bar with a Hendrick’s Martini in hand.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

Professionally, I have participated in many local charity events and have been a member of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and American Marketing Association. I also volunteer in support of FeedMore, Central Virginia’s Core Hunger Relief Organization.

As a part of my active lifestyle, I am an indoor cycling instructor at BOHO. I began my fitness journey five years ago as a group fitness instructor and it has changed my life. I consider myself to be a weekday warrior, teaching 3-4 times a week, mostly before the sun comes up. After five months of training with the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team, I completed my first Marathon on November 4, 2018, in New York City. It was an inspirational experience I will never forget, and neither will my legs!

What are the things you are most proud of?

Personally: my family. Family comes in all different shapes and sizes, but I’m happy to say that my family has been five of my best friends and biggest support systems from day one. I am one of four siblings – I have an older sister, twin sister and younger brother – I wouldn’t trade them for anything or anyone. I have learned something from both my parents and my siblings that has shaped me into the person I am today and the person I want to be in the future.

Professionally: myself. I am proud of my achievements, my work ethic and the way that I live my life. Over the course of my professional career and personal life, I have set many goals. When I set a goal, I do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal and succeed. Whether my goal setting involves a promotion or finishing a race, I strive to be the best that I can be and know what I am capable of achieving. I have learned that obstacles will invariable come your way, but only you can take control of how you overcome those challenges and more importantly, how you live your life. I live by a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality and believe in finding the right balance. Work hard, but don’t let work take over your life.

Who are your personal role models?

My personal role model is my Dad.  Throughout my childhood years to adulthood, my Dad has taught me what it means to be dedicated, committed and selfless. He served in the Army for 25 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, and now currently serves as a Nuclear Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His loyalty and dedication to serve our country, in whatever capacity possible, has never failed. He is courageous, yet humble, expecting nothing in return for the many sacrifices he has made. He has shown me what a strong work ethic looks like, how to always have respect for others, and to always show up on time – if not 30 minutes early to everything! He is a Godly man, a devoted husband and loving father. He is the most genuine and loyal person I know. I am lucky to call him my role model and my hero.

Did your Dad offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

I spent the first 20 years of my life under “military house rule”, and while sometimes it was incredibly trying, I have to credit my parents and my upbringing for making me the person I am today. Ten things I’ve learned from my Dad along the way:

  1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Kill them with kindness.
  2. You can’t cry over everything. Instead, change what you don’t like and let go of the things you can’t fix.
  3. Never stop working hard. Maintain it, be consistent and never settle.
  4. Life is never fair. Deal with it. No one said life would always be easy or fair. Learn from the challenges that may come your way. It won’t be the last time you run into one.
  5. Be content with little and be smart with your money. There were numerous times growing up when money was tight. Don’t overspend it and learn to save. Vacations don’t have to be expensive.
  6. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Never take success for granted. You earned it, take it.
  7. Find your support system, you can’t do life alone. Or, maybe you can, but it’s important to set your priorities and don’t be afraid to ask for help. My parents support for one another – and for me – is the reason I am here today. Your family is important and they will always be there for you.
  8. Hard Work Pays Off. Success come from hard work, be willing to get your hands dirty, it will pay off.
  9. Value your Education. Knowledge is power, don’t take advantage of it. Don’t ever stop learning.
  10. Respect yourself and respect others. You have to give respect to receive it.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Work hard, play harder. Set boundaries and learn how to balance your work and personal life. Life is only temporary and your job is temporary too. Enjoy the special moments you are given, only you can decide how you spend your time. Life is more fun when you are having fun!

 What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Spotify’s ‘New Music Friday’ is my go-to. If you’re riding in the car with me, I advise you to bring ear plugs. I am constantly making playlists for my next class. Sitting at a stoplight, you can find me rocking out on the steering wheel, listening to every heavy base, EDM remix dance track you can think of. The life of an indoor cycling instructor!

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Stellas. It is one of Richmond’s most beloved restaurants and features delicious, Modern Greek cuisine and small plates, along with an incredible wine list. From the ambiance, wait staff, food, drinks and even dessert, this is a must try, five-star dining experience if you’re ever in Richmond.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I am grateful for where my professional career has taken me, but my dream job would be to open my own fitness studio. I love being able to motivate and inspire others to reach their fitness goals, while challenging myself to reach my own at the same time. I have found a new passion for helping others to work hard and see results. Fitness is an empowering movement and I’ve met some truly amazing people along the way!


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