Sr Joan trained as a primary school teacher, and has taught and held the position of Principal of parish primary schools across Victoria over a 30-year period. As Deputy Chair, School Services, of the Catholic Education Office of Melbourne she was responsible for the selection and appointment of principals and orientation and mentoring of new principals. Sr Joan maintains her involvement with Catholic education as a member of several school and education-related boards and committees.
Sr Joan managed the Convent of Mercy Hostel from 2007 to 2010 and continues to care for a number of Sisters of Mercy in aged care. She joined the Mercy Health Board in 2011 and in 2014 celebrated her golden jubilee as a Sister of Mercy.
Sr Joan's governance roles have spanned various Mercy ministries. She was a member of the Sisters of Mercy Melbourne Congregation from 2000 to 2005, and is a member of Mercy Secondary Education Inc and MacKillop Family Services.