JoAnn Desmond believes in commitment—to family and community involvement. She’s been married to husband Terry for more than 50 years, and they’ve called Lake Forest home for 24 years. She currently serves as president of both the Lake Forest Citizens for ACTION (Alliance to Control Train Impacts on our Neighborhood) and the Academy Woods Homeowners Association. She is active with the Lake Forest Lake/Bluff League of Women Voters, Lake Forest Open Lands, Dickinson Senior Center, and St. Patrick’s Church. Now, Desmond is taking her civic responsibility to another level as candidate for 3rd Ward Alderman (desmondforalderman.com) in the only contested race in Lake Forest. “Giving voters a choice and a voice in their local government is important to our democracy. My grassroots efforts as a community activist to preserve and protect our natural resources, environment, history, and quality of life for future generations demonstrate my commitment to making Lake Forest an even better place,” Desmond says.
Last fabulous vacation that you still talk about?
Last summer we took our two children and three grandchildren to a dude ranch in Parshall, Colorado to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. Having an unforgettable week together in the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains without the distraction of phones or electronic devices reenergized our senses and reconnected us with nature and each other.
Last movie that inspired you?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a movie in a long time and I prefer to find inspiration in books. The last book I read that inspired me was Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, which was her compelling story that proved the capacity for resilience to overcome almost any obstacle and the power of learning to change a life.
Last piece of advice you received that you’ve shared with others?
My mother always told me—and she still reminds me of it at age 95—to use my voice and to stay true to my values, that integrity is non-negotiable, and to stand up for what I believe in. As a parent, grandparent, and educator, I try to pass along that wisdom to others in my life.
Last moment when you realized that your campaign was one worth waging?
Many friends and neighbors encouraged me to run when I did not receive the Caucus committee endorsement. They said they wanted a choice about who would be their alderman and they knew that I would listen and be a voice for them on the City Council.
Last impulse decision you made that you will never regret?
In 1989, as the only woman school administrator in the area at the time, I entered the competition to be the CEO of a school district. I went on to be hired in 1990 as the 13th woman to serve as a school superintendent in Illinois out of nearly 1,000 school districts. Breaking barriers paved the way for other talented women to follow.