Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business consulting and services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jo Anne Schwendinger, Founder of Clear Strategy Company, located in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At Clear Strategy, I leverage my experience to help companies do well while doing good. My sustainability and ESG expertise includes:

  • Stakeholder engagement. Learning from stakeholders what they need and require.
  • Strategy. Planning for performance that benefits multiple stakeholders – investors, employees, customers, communities, and regulators.
  • Project management. Operationalizing strategy.
  • Reporting. Telling stakeholders how you are performing.
  • Governance. Creating structures for oversight and policies that guide human behavior.

Tell us about yourself

I am the Founder and CEO of Clear Strategy Co., an entrepreneur, and a seasoned public company executive. I worked for and represented leading companies in finance, manufacturing, mining, and high-tech industries as a trusted legal advisor for over 30 years. Before launching Clear Strategy, I served as the Chief Legal and Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary of a public company in the tech sector, where I was Chair of the company's disclosure committee and a member of the company's first ESG oversight body. Previously, I served in leadership roles for a Fortune 100 company in the manufacturing space where, with my own teams, I focused on talent development, DEI and worked with others to architect and deploy a data governance framework.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was taking the plunge and trusting that I could do it when I had never been an entrepreneur. Fortunately, there are a lot of amazing resources available to entrepreneurs, especially women. My second biggest accomplishment was learning about those resources and using them.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing for me as a new business owner is not having a track record to look back on to give me confidence. I'm in the midst of building that track record.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Use all the free resources available to you, but know when to quit studying the subject of entrepreneurship and start taking action.
  2. Work your network. Don't hesitate to ask questions and ask for help. Of course, follow that up with being willing to help others.
  3. Think about scale from the very beginning.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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