Member Spotlight: Meet JoAnne Levy

JoAnne Levy's remarkable career is a testament to the power of adaptability, curiosity, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. With multiple significant shifts in her professional journey, she has consistently demonstrated an ability to embrace new challenges and make a lasting impact in each field in which she has worked.

At the beginning of her education and career, JoAnne had plans to become a medical doctor and applied for the eight-year program at Washington University (WashU), where she reached the semi-finalist stage.  “If I had gotten that, I would probably be a doctor today,” she says.

Ultimately, she did attend WashU, graduating with honors in English and history. Afterward, she was accepted into the WashU Law School, ultimately graduating first in her class. She found her passion in the legal field, working in various disciplines, including environmental, safety and health, and employment law, at both a large law firm and then as an in-house attorney with one of her clients.

The first pivot of her career came when her Legal Department leader approached her with a management opportunity, helping lead a fledgling pharmaceutical business within the larger healthcare company. She wanted to be prepared before she took the position, and so back to WashU she went: this time to attend WashU’s Executive MBA program.  JoAnne says, “Most people ask me, ‘How did you make the seemingly huge transition from law into business?’ and my response is always ‘I didn’t say no!’” Her role eventually led her to China where she explored business development across Asia.

Throughout her career, it’s been JoAnne’s openness to opportunities that truly set her apart. A daunting adventure in her career, JoAnne says, was her transition into logistics and supply chain management—a male-dominated career area at the time. “I was one of the only women supply chain leaders across our parent company. It was a very interesting time, starting with having to prove myself to men who had been in supply chain for much longer than I,” she says with a smile. 

Another career pivot came when she moved into supply chain at Mercy, a leading healthcare system, which led to an opportunity to lead clinical research at Mercy; once again, she didn’t say no.  From law to international business development to supply chain to clinical research, she showed herself capable of learning and managing in fields where she had little experience but needed to become an effective leader quickly. 

JoAnne believes there are three traits that have benefited her the most through her many transitions and varied experiences: 

  1. Curiosity: asking questions and having a desire to learn.

  2. The ability to learn new things quickly: identifying and absorbing new material, new skills, new jargon and lots of acronyms.

  3. Flexibility: having an openness and desire to change, a willingness to get onto a learning curve and be uncomfortable for awhile, and the ability to be flexible.

JoAnne reflects on how these traits affected her various careers: “I could have turned down all those opportunities, maybe been a partner in a big law firm,  but throughout my entire career, I’ve switched roles every 3-7 years. I’ve done something new and different around every turn, and it’s kept my brain involved and kept me engaged at every step.”

Leadership at Mercy Research is what endured for more than just its daily novelty – in her role, she feels a deep sense of fulfillment, knowing that her work directly impacts patient care, especially via clinical trials. As of April 2024, JoAnne has celebrated seven and a half years in the research field. 

Beyond her professional accomplishments, JoAnne actively contributes to her community. Her involvement in and leadership of women's organizations, such as her chairmanship of the Mercy Women in Leadership Council, a community of 2000 women leaders dedicated to addressing women's issues across the healthcare system, demonstrates her dedication to empowering women. 

JoAnne also serves on the Board of the St. Louis Forum, is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, is on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals and is a permanent Board member for Congregation Temple Israel. 

Throughout her career, JoAnne has been recognized with various awards, including the Diamond Award, which she earned while working in the male-dominated logistics industry. She was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Businesswomen in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2016. JoAnne has also received many other recognitions, including the Healthcare Businesswomen Association’s Healthcare Accomplishment Recognition Award (HCARA) for professional and community achievement in 2017 and was named as Leader of Distinction in Health Management for the YWCA Academy of Leaders, Class of 2019.

JoAnne has a busy husband, five children, and three grandsons. Her husband Jim Thomeczek is a leading special education attorney and all five children are pursuing their passions, ranging from law and computer science to psychology and strategic operations. 

JoAnne’s journey is a testament to the power of maintaining curiosity, seizing opportunities and embracing change. Her commitment to making a difference in her community and her contributions to the healthcare sector, especially in promoting women's empowerment, reflect her dedication and impact.

Connect with her on LinkedIn here.