Joni Wynecoop recently celebrated earning her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Eastern Washington University with an inspiring post on social media. For Wynecoop, the MBA degree is the most recent in a list of achievements earned through the determination to overcome obstacles and improve her life.
Wynecoop, an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, grew up in Wellpinit, Washington. She began her college education at Eastern in 1994 but left college prior to earning her degree so that she could work full-time and support her young daughter. Wynecoop is a mother of 3 kids, ages 25, 14, and 13, and she has also had guardianship of her niece and nephew.
Life was often difficult for Wynecoop, who has experienced domestic violence, alcoholism, and depression as well as significant health challenges. Looking back on those years, Wynecoop credits her adult daughter for constantly supporting her and motivating her to break the cycle and make the hard changes necessary to improve her life.
In 2017, Wynecoop decided to return to Eastern to complete her degree. In 2019, she was awarded her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Indian Studies. She made the Dean’s List 6 times and was inducted to the National Society of Leadership & Success, Sigma Alpha Pi. After receiving her BA, she decided to pursue her master’s degree, enrolled in EWU’s MBA program and amazingly completed her degree in only 9 months. Earning an MBA is not the end of Wynecoop’s EWU career, as she is currently looking forward to starting classes in the Master of Public Administration program this fall.
Wynecoop is currently employed as the Spokane Tribes Employment Rights Director (TERO). She is also certified as a National Registered Emergency Medical Technician, where she provides volunteer EMT services including medical assistance and structural firefighter. She serves on the Spokane Indian Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, and on the Patient Advocate Advisory Committee for Indian Health Services.
When Wynecoop reflects on her remarkable accomplishments of the past few years, she is proud of the woman that she has become. By telling her story, she hopes to encourage others who may identify with her struggles. “It is about winning battles. You won’t win them all, but if you learn from it and keep trying, you can finally win your war.”