About Joan Graci, Founder of Woman Up Conferences


Joan Headshot.png

  • Owner & President of APA Solutions, Inc.

  • Owner & President of Career Reform

  • Founder of "Be Your Own Hero" Nonprofit Initiative

  • Author of the Book No More Bad Advice

  • Founder of Woman Up Conferences

  • Recipient of 2015 Woman of Influence Award, issued by Buffalo Business First

Why Woman Up? The conference started as a community initiative for Joan Graci whose firm, APA Solutions, develops science-based solutions to the leadership, training and recruiting pains of today. Through the on-demand work of her firm, Joan recognized that giving women the opportunity to develop necessary tools required to commandeer different landscapes was essential. However, there was a clear gap in the availability of events meant to do just this, so Woman Up was born to not only highlight the courageous women of our area, but also lay the groundwork for many to follow in their footsteps.

Bio: As one of the only brain-based-certified Talent Coaches in the country, Joan has made it her mission to discover the secret of transforming organizational effectiveness. Her years spent entrenched on the front lines for better people practices has provided a few ingredients that once combined, deliver one of the most efficient approaches for growth companies today. The recipe? Hard data and science used to bridge the communication gap between leadership and the people they employ by disrupting human capital norms. Leveraging three plus decades of analyzing data in the recruiting space, along with year’s spent in the on-demand learning experience platform arena, Joan defies traditional beliefs as it relates to the mindset of the workforce. Her passion is people, and she strives to coach leaders to work within the confines of the human brain’s natural abilities, rather than against it.

Joan has spent the past five years further pursuing education in the field of neuroscience, including a focus on the advances that validate everyone has access to developing new ways of thinking. Her expertise includes team formation, organizational development, productivity and people improvement, change management and corporate culture, conflict resolution and team building, empowerment and motivation. She has used her knowledge to unpack how this innovative brain-based methodology helps thinkers, teams and organizations benefit from self-awareness, promoting growth and transparency. As a result, companies that are bold enough to use math and science to align their people strategy to their business goals have successfully experienced exponential growth in revenue, retention and engagement rates. This science puts the “BEST” to work. 

Joan received a brain-based certification from the NeuroLeadership Institute and completed the Women’s Leadership Development Program at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is a graduate and former president of the University of Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association and remains an active member of the UB community, as well as a mentor and committee leader for the Canisius College Women’s Business Center. She also received a 2015 Woman of Influence award, issued by Buffalo Business First, which honors female entrepreneurs who have grown their business by making outstanding contributions to society.

Because of the overwhelming demand for professional guidance, Joan also founded a successful career coaching startup, Career Reform – which empowers job seekers to approach their work life with an ownership mindset. She recently published her first book, No More Bad Advice