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Slide 2 - Celebrating 30 Years

Joan Mantini’s Story

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After graduating from Warren Mott High School in 1999, I proceeded to college where I graduated with my MBA at the young age of 24! For someone who had never thought of college after high school, this was quite the accomplishment.

I have to admit, school always came natural to me.  I never had to study, or do homework, and I still continually made the honor roll each semester.  Yet never the thought of college, or what I was going to do after high school crossed my mind.  I lived in the moment! My senior year I participated in the Winning Futures Program where was paired up with my mentor, Laurie Tarter.  Little did I know at the time what guidance and impact this humble and inspiring mentor would make in my life.

To be able to sit down with someone and talk about goals and obstacles and mapping out a plan to take my dreams, that at that time were just VISIONS, and turning them into GOALS was a gift of a lifetime. I will never forget the moment during the educational goal setting session, where my mentor suggested going to college after high school.  Why hadn’t I ever thought of that?  During that session I realized that money was my number one factor in not attending college.  My mentor helped me overcome this obstacle by providing me with scholarship opportunities.  Being the recipient of a $4,000 Winning Futures Scholarship paid for my first two years at a community college.  From there I was able to transfer to a University and come out of college with less debt!  Shortly after graduating with my undergraduate degree from Oakland University, I decided why stop there? I started to peruse my MBA to “get it out of the way”.  While my friends were just graduating with their undergraduate degrees, I was one step ahead of the game with my graduate degree at 24 all because I had a PLAN!

Even with a plan, you cannot predict exactly where the future will take you.  After marrying my husband and having our children, I decided working in an office with set hours was not for me anymore.  I wanted to be able to stay home and enjoy raising our three children and watch them grow.  At this time I was fortunate to have a hobby of sewing that I practiced quite a bit being home.  Always having a vision of things I wanted and never being able to find them in the store, I would just make them myself.  Friends and family members started seeing some of my creations and would ask if I could make them various things.  Then this hobby started to explode into a home business in a few months time… Alas, SewJoan Personalized Blankets was created. I love being able to create someone’s unique vision and exceed their expectations of a custom gift.  The business was doing so well, I wanted to add more options for my customers, and be able to check another personal goal off of my “to-do list”.  In 2013, I self-published my first book, The Miracle of You to sell alongside my blankets.  Being a published Author was a goal I remember setting with my 4th grade teacher.  What an amazing feeling to know that I have accomplished this and my book is being sold on various websites including, and  Each year I plan to continue to grow the SUCCESS of my business.

A small business owner and an author, are just two of the titles I hold today. However, the title I am most proud of is Mom.  I feel that my children will have a true advantage in life because all of the lessons I learned in Winning Futures have been instilled in them since day one.  For this I am forever grateful to have been a participant in the Winning Futures Program.