Joanie Connell

La Jolla, California

Soar Coach since January 2019

About Joanie

You're a high-achieving nerd who needs to expand your people skills to get to the next level of leadership.

You may be an engineer, a scientist, a financial analyst or some other technical expert. You may be a director at a medium sized company or a manager or team leader at a larger company, leading a startup, or aiming to get into one of those roles. You have the technical expertise to get results, but you need to expand your people skills to handle the people side of the business, to lead a team, to build strategic relationships, to handle difficult situations, or to interface with customers. I can help you.

Technical people are smart and want to achieve. They tend to be results focused more than relationships focused. My clients trust me to help them build their people skills because I get it. I used to be an engineer in Silicon Valley before I got a doctorate in psychology. I get that you don't want to become mushy or salesy, that you value data and logic and rational approaches. What I do is help you see people's thoughts and feelings as critical data for your leadership strategy, and learn how to employ tools to build strong relationships and manage people challenges in a way that's authentic to you.

An Executive Medical Director of a Biotech company recently said: "Working with Joanie has allowed me to more successfully manage my project teams through sensitive internal and external negotiations. Her insight and skill at working with executives are complemented by her easy going demeanor. Additionally my personal leadership skills have improved and been recognized by senior management. I now have additional responsibilities to lead a broader team only five months after having started my work with Joanie."

I help technically trained leaders communicate with and lead people. I've been doing that for over twenty years and it is my favorite work.

Check out my Reinventing Nerds podcast at for a sample of what I do. You'll find interviews of technical people about how they developed their people strategies.


Dr. Joanie B. Connell is an organizational consultant and leadership coach who specializes in maximizing leadership potential. She works with companies to attract, develop, and retain top talent. She works with individuals to improve their success and happiness in their careers. She is also an author of the book “Flying without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life.”

She coaches people at all levels—executives, managers, employees, and students who are in search of a career. She excels at helping technical people develop interpersonal and influencing skills. She also has a passion for helping people develop self-insight and leverage their strengths and passion in life to be successful in whatever they do.

In addition, Joanie has had several years' experience working as an electrical engineer and consultant for a variety of high tech companies, including Cisco Systems, Tandem Computers, and Cypress Semiconductor and as a professor at The Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.

Highlights from Joanie’s organizational consulting experience include: clients from Fortune 100 companies and high tech, biotech, finance, and legal industries, and projects on executive assessment, change management, career planning, advancement of women, leadership development, and training & facilitation.


Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley B.A. in Engineering from Harvard University.


Boeing, Hewlett Packard, Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, Wells Fargo Bank, ResMed, Starbucks, U.S. Navy, U.S. Postal Service, Amylin Pharmaceutical, CareFusion, Carl Zeiss, Ferring Research Institute, Fish & Richardson, North County Transit Department, YMCA, National Charity League, Simmons College, UC San Diego.

Joanie is available to consult, coach, present keynote speeches, and make media appearances. She also likes to write guest blog posts.

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Career Coach
Executive Coach
Personal Development Coach
Strengths Coach
Workplace Team Coach

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