Tributes 2017-01-19T07:52:57+00:00

Book Blurbs

“Joan Barnes, a pioneer of female entrepreneurship, the founder of the iconic company Gymboree and a hero to many small business owners generously shares her journey, so entrepreneurs today can avoid mistakes, embrace innovation and succeed—in business and in life.”
Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media/ and former editorial director Entrepreneur Magazine
Joan Barnes’ story of entrepreneurial achievement and personal struggle is both inspirational and very informative. You get a feel for how to really start a business with little money and you see that it is possible to have the courage and determination to confront major personal challenges in the midst of building a successful business.
Phillip Moffitt, president of Life Balance Institute and author of Emotional Chaos to Clarity
“Joan’s journey is an inspiring tale of pioneering entrepreneurial vision, collaborative leadership, and courageous reinvention filled with lessons for us all.”
Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Airbnb Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy
“Joan Barnes’ story is an inspiration for any woman who’d rather “build her own table’’ than wait for a seat in the corporate boardroom. Her unflinching honesty about the lows and highs of her journey make this a must-read for anyone seeking sustainable success.”
Peggy Northrop, co-founder of, former editor-in-chief of More Magazine and former global editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest
“When Yoga Works acquired YogaStudios from Joan Barnes, we bought more than a business; we inherited a great culture with a dynamic community spirit from a visionary who saw the possibilities and the boundless potential in each of us.”
Phil Swain, CEO of Yoga Works
“This book is a fascinating read for entrepreneurs and businesspeople of all types, not just women. Joan Barnes is a force of nature and her incredible journey inspires us to value heart, soul, passion, authenticity and family as we navigate the interplay of our work lives and personal lives.”
Yvonne Hao, former acting COO of Gymboree and operating partner of Bain Capital Private Equity
“Joan Barnes blessed my family with a magic carpet ride. Successful franchisees for 25 years, my parents raised me in Gymboree’s joyous environment, living balanced lives. Now, my son is blossoming there too. As a guiding light and role model, Joan’s dynamic entrepreneurism inspires me to build my business and grow my family. Her story is one for the ages.”
Rachel Pally, founder and CEO of
“Joan’s story is a raw, rare and illuminating touchstone for future generations of women to sort out how to achieve success on their own terms.”
Elana Yonah Rosen, chief development officer of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center
“Joan is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs, and her enthusiasm, passion and wit are contagious and her intellect razor sharp. She has gifted us a thoughtful book that will encourage and educate women of all ages.”
Karen Behnke, founder of Juice Beauty
“A beacon for us all, Joan Barnes’ indelible odyssey is a riveting read delivered with humility, refreshing vulnerability, uncommon transparency and compassion.”
Susan Griffin-Black, co-founder and co-CEO of EO Products

Personal and Speaking Tributes

“’Don’t even try to brake on the downhill rocky parts,’ Joan Barnes, an avid mountain bike racer, directed me on my first ride. She could have been spouting her life’s philosophy. Forget leaning in, Joan has always jumped in.

As a young mother of two active daughters she started Gymboree in a church basement. When she sold that business, hundreds of stores later, she took up yoga with her usual passion. Within a year she launched the Yoga Studio, a group of beautifully appointed studios in the San Francisco Bay Area with the region’s best teachers and yoga clothing.

Always evolving and adventurous, Joan is one of the most inspiring women I know. Her life force, intelligence and wit are as expansive as her asanas and as full-bodied as her laugh.”

Patricia Ziegler, co-founder of Banana Republic and Republic of Tea
“Joan Barnes is as provocative as she is inspiring. Her story and success keenly highlight the paradoxes of strength and vulnerability. She leaves the audience moved and wanting more.”
Stephanie Brenner Kirksey, senior director at Capital One
“Joan is a force of nature and she is real. Her story inspired my community and moved us to tears. We love her energy and only wanted more.”
Edith Yeung, partner at 500 Mobile Collective Fund
“F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, there are no second acts. We caught up with Joan Barnes who re-invented herself and learned some important life lessons along the way.”
Anne Thompson, the Today Show
“Joan Barnes is the voice of experience for female entrepreneurs.”
Judith Iglehart, EdD, president, International Division, of Keiretsu Forum
“Joan’s insights on starting and growing successful companies are greatly beneficial.”
Sonja Markova, vice president of Point Reyes Management, LLC and former managing director of Keiretsu Forum

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