About Joy Duling

Joy's Story

I was about twenty-five years old when I first realized that my brain works a little differently than most people's. At the time, I was working for a super high-achieving, visionary leader and his equally brilliant chief of staff. They were two amazing mentors embarked upon a change effort that would ultimately turnaround a very broken child welfare system in our State. Within a few months of starting my work there, I found myself being pulled into projects whenever when the Director wanted to start something new. He'd announce some incredibly big idea with what felt like an impossible deadline, then he'd look around the table and say, "We'll get that done, right?"  Afterward, I'd be partnered up with senior executives with decades more experience than me to make sure that the work actually got done.  

My role - as uncomfortable as it was for someone so young in their career - was to map out the path and to report back whether things were on track. I couldn't help but think, who was I - fresh out of college and with very little job experience - to play such a role?

But it worked. Maybe it was lucky coincidence, or maybe my mentors saw some quality in me that hadn't yet been recognized. Ultimately, I gained the respect of the executives to whom I was assigned. I learned how to set goals and frame up plans so that the work would get done and so that my role would be supportive and non-intrusive. After all, I had been given HUGE responsibility, but I wasn't actually in charge of the project - the executive was - so I had to learn how to organize, inspire and motivate without being an annoying little twit.

I can't really say why this is my talent, but if each person has a unique super power, this is probably mine.

Today, I use this talent to support organizations that are thinking bigger about their results. I help them map out the path and my administrative team provides all the structures and people power to make big things happen.  It is truly magical when you see it in motion and I am blessed every day to be able to do this work.


And Joy's "Official Bio" (for people who like formal stuff)

Every great visionary needs someone behind the scenes who can help them bring their ideas to life. Joy Duling is one of those somebodies.

Joy is a natural path-mapper, the type of person who naturally sees past the complexity of a situation to create a course from Point A to Point B. She launched a25hourday.com to help organizations that are big on ideas, but small on staff reach their goals.

She was a member of former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar's policy staff in the mid-nineties, assigned to work on issues related to the Departments of Aging, Public Aid, Mental Health, Rehabilitation Services, Child and Family Services and Veterans Affairs. In this capacity, Joy assisted with the development and passage of landmark legislation known as the Illinois Permanency Initiative, as well as the planning for a multi-agency consolidation into what is now known as the Illinois Department of Human Services.

In 1997, Joy moved to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services where she served as Assistant to the Chief of Staff. While at DCFS, Joy was assigned to coordinate key projects when attention to detail and delivery of results were critical, including:

  • implementation of a Best Practice child welfare model;
  • roll-out of the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Implementation System;
  • transition of DCFS wards with disabilities to adult services;
  • launch of a Placement Clearance Desk;
  • development of a new behavioral healthcare model;
  • overhaul of services for teens in care;
  • interagency transfer of an educational advocacy program; and
  • development of a comprehensive database to track educational information.

Joy served as the primary author for a number of well-received reports and publication, "Protecting the Children: A School Administrator's Guide to Child Welfare in Illinois", the DCFS Transition document to new gubernatorial administration, "Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the DCFS Placement Clearance Desk" and the DCFS Strategic Plan for FY 2004-2006.

Joy holds a Psychology Degree from Eureka College in Eureka, IL and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialization in Policy, Planning and Administration. She received both the Ronald W. Reagan Fellowship and the Michael Dunn Fellowship for excellence in academics, service and leadership.

Today, Joy serves as Managing Director for A 25 Hour Day, LLC, directing a support team in service to a diverse array of clients.  She has sat on the Board of Directors for the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation, the National Association of Women Business Owners Central Illinois Chapter and the Greater Peoria YWCA. She is a member of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators and an Industry Partner for the Illinois Society of Association Executives.

Joy resides in Bartonville, IL with her husband, Shannon, and is an enthusiastic supporter of her daughter Avery who is pursuing a meteorology degree at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.