Men Empowering Women: Joe Hoffecker of the Business Courier

We don’t have the opportunity to work closely with as many men as we would like- most companies do not nominate men to run their women’s initiatives, so they are not typically the ones reaching out to bring a Gild workshop to their organization. However, we are seeing more men than ever join these initiatives to show support and passion behind empowering women, and we could not be more excited for it.

20151213_192051-1-1_resizedOur excitement reached a peak when we had the opportunity to meet with Joe Hoffecker of the Business Courier in October of this year. Within a few moments of our conversation, it was clear that Joe did not have a guard up when discussing women’s issues- he was not worried that he might say the wrong thing or unintentionally offend us. He was open, warm, and genuine about his passion for women’s right to an equal playing field.

We are excited to introduce Joe to all of you (although many of you already know him from his amazing cartoons), and know that his dedication to women’s issues will inspire many more men to get involved in an important and necessary discussion.

Tell us about your role(s) at the Business Courier. 

My primary responsibility as Audience Development Director is to increase our readership of our print and digital products, social media followers and grow event attendance. What I love about my job is every day is different; my job is challenging, but fun! The Courier has a great reputation in Greater Cincinnati and we are fortunate to have a fantastic team of editors and reporters that provide amazing content. I’m proud to promote our products and I believe they help local business people become more successful.  I am also the editorial cartoonist, and my drawings are published in the Courier as well as several of our sister business journals throughout the U.S. I also contribute a weekly cartoon to our parent company’s Sports Business Journal.


Can you explain Bizwomen and how it fits within the Business Courier? What are the goals of this site, and how do you think it has helped to empower female leaders in Cincinnati?

The Courier hosted several variations of  women’s programs before launching Bizwomen in 2004. We didn’t want to compete with existing women’s awards programs, but rather provide a platform for local business women to network on a different level. Centered around a four-part theme of Connect, Support, Learn and Grow, we decided to host four Bizwomen breakfast forums each year where women could build their network, hear a keynote from a successful local female leader, and participate in live discussions. Our parent company, American City Business Journals (ACBJ), relaunched its national Bizwomen site in 2014 (, which provides content from all 43 of our U.S. business journal markets. Also, each year in April, every business journal hosts Bizwomen Mentoring Monday on the same day, when over 10,000 women participate in speed mentoring across the country!


What is the Bizwomen Cabinet?

After the successful  launch of the Bizwomen breakfasts, several attendees approached us with the idea of creating a membership club–and somewhat of an advisory board to the Courier with regards to our women’s programming. The Cabinet grew out of this idea. There are many perks to being a member, including exclusive member-only gatherings.

You are the father of three daughters. How has having daughters impacted your everyday work?

I have three daughters, and they are the greatest gift I could ever receive! I often say, I’ve learned more from them than they have from me! I think being a parent of daughters opened my eyes to the differences between how boys are raised vs. girls, and these behaviors sometime continue into adulthood. I think raising them has impacted how I view equality and inclusion, mutual respect, and empathy.

Why do you feel that it is important for men to be a part of the conversation surrounding women’s empowerment?

We are almost two decades into the 21st century, and amazingly there are still long-standing inequities based on many factors, including gender. Until we all wrap our arms around these challenges and have honest, respectful  conversations, nothing will change.

How can men in positions of leadership empower women in their organizations?

By being inclusive, bringing all voices to the table, and genuinely listening. I’m guilty of thinking I had all the answers and shutting people out. When, in fact, greater inclusion makes for better results.

Thank you so much, Joe!

And, just because we love them, here are just a few more of his amazing cartoons:

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