Joan began her career in public service at the U.S. Department of Commerce under the George H.W. Bush Administration, where she served as Desk Officer for the pre-unification German Democratic Republic. She was awarded a Bronze Medal for Superior Federal Service for her work during the tumultuous time after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the local level, she volunteered for the successful campaign of Carol Schwartz as she ran for an At-Large seat on the D.C. City Council, gaining valuable experience in campaign finance. She then served as Mrs. Schwartz's chief of staff on the Council from 1996 to 1998. Joan subsequently spent fifteen years as the finance manager for the Washington, D.C. office of the German government-funded Heinrich Boell Foundation. Joan earned a B.A. in German Studies from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Soviet Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She lives near Dupont Circle in Ward 2 with her little black cat.