The Secret to Joanna Robinson's Success: Hard Work

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Every workday for the past eight years, Joanna Robinson’s alarm rings at exactly 4:26 a.m.

Robinson said the uncommon wake-up time allows her just the right amount of time to get in a good workout before her busy days as she’s climbed up the corporate ladder. Since December, she’s been Senior Vice President of Technology, Sales, and Professional Services at Burwood Group – the rare female executive in a male-dominated tech field, where between 84 and 88 percent of leaders are made up of men, according to studies.

The secret to Robinson’s success? Hard work, she said.

“I’ve experienced my entire career where I’m either the youngest woman or only woman in the room, and I’ve made sure that I wasn’t silent,” Robinson said. “I’ve gotten to this position through hard work and being the best and not being afraid of being the best. If I could tell any woman one thing about being in the field, it would be to be fearless.”

Robinson is leading a blanket-making event at Burwood’s Irvine office on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. Blankets will be donated to Project Linus, a nonprofit that provides homemade blankets to children in need.”

Robinson with Jim Hart, President at Burwood Group (center) and Chris Pond, President of Burwood Cloud Services (right).

Robinson with Jim Hart, President at Burwood Group (center) and Chris Pond, President of Burwood Cloud Services (right).

“It really gives folks the opportunity to give back to those who might not be as fortunate,” Robinson said. “And it helps people prioritize what’s important in life.”

For Robinson, total dedication to her craft has always been a key component of her life. Robinson was born on a ranch near tiny Eden, Texas in the center of the state. She grew up on a farm in tiny Colfax, Washington – about 80 miles from Spokane – where her family grew wheat, lentils and corn and raised sheep, pigs and cows. Starting at age 6 through high school graduation, Robinson got out of bed before sunrise to feed the animals, shovel manure and buck hay bales.

Robinson won numerous awards in 4-H, played several sports in high school and noted she was part of science, debate and other clubs.

“I always wanted to be the best,” Robinson said.

She took that attitude to Azusa Pacific University, where Robinson was voted Most Outstanding Student, then to University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where she finished in the top fifth of her graduating class.

In the corporate world, she’s held several executive roles and in her current position at Burwood Group, Robinson drives go-to-market strategy, client service, and sales excellence for the company's core technology practice areas.

“I’ve spent the last 10-plus years building and transforming organizations,’ said Robinson, a Coto de Caza resident. “I love people and I’ve always been a builder.”

Robinson’s grandmother, Ivie Louise Reavis Spiller – who still lives on the ranch where Robinson was born – said Robinson has been successful in her career because “she is and has always been enthusiastic, responsible, ambitious, dedicated, energetic, willing to work long and hard, and has always been goal oriented.”


Robinson said she gets her work ethic from her parents and from Spiller, who is a retired science teacher, real estate broker and rancher. The competitive spirit comes from within and never gets turned off. Robinson routinely plays basketball with a group of men at Saddleback Church and says of the experience: “You walk onto the court and people assume you’re less capable.”

“But if you don’t guard me, I will annihilate you,” Robinson said. “I will hustle and work harder than you.”

That mantra has served her well in the boardroom, on the court and in life.

For more information on Burwood’s blanket-making visit


Image gallery: Joanna Robinson

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