Joan Steffend's new project after HGTV's Decorating Cents

Catching up with Joan Steffend, former host of Decorating Cents: if you love the witty, energetic redhead on TV, find out about her current efforts promoting peace. Photo: Many sides of Joan Steffend Image: Jeff Johnson

NORTHFIELD, Minn. January 10, 2011 — If life is like a play, then fifty-some year old Joan Steffend is in her fourth act. The first three included actor, news anchor, and television host. Now add speaker, author and non-profit leader. She is devoted and passionate, finding and sharing inner peace on the pathway to world peace.

Peace Begins with Me (a small but BIG peace project) is a humanitarian non-profit organization dedicated to education, inspiration, and collaboration in the area of inner peace, knowing that, because we are all connected, inner peace is the way to global peace.

“We are all connected in seen and unseen ways. Science has caught up with that spiritual philosophy. What one person puts out energetically is felt by all. It ripples around the world,” says Steffend.

“Orthomolecular psychiatrist Dr. David Hawkins says in his many books that one highly conscious and loving person can balance out 750,000 people who are not. We are asking you to be that conscious and loving person,” she continues.

At its most basic, Peace Begins with Me is a marketing campaign designed to balance out the constant messaging we live with that says “you are not enough” and “the chaos is too big” for you to have an impact.

Standing in front of an audience of more than one hundred,  Steffend said, ”My college professor told me that I was a poor speaker who should never speak in front of groups.” It took her years to feel comfortable speaking to an audience. Coming to peace with herself and her choices was hard won.

Steffend is both captivating and authentic when speaking about peace. Her self-disclosure of incidents like the feedback from that professor, which led her to drop the class and avoid public speaking for years, was highly relatable. For others, negative feedback may have been about singing, or art, or body size.

With fame, a supportive husband, two loving daughters, and more, Steffend struggled to find and claim inner peace. After a soul searching period in her late 40’s to early 50’s, the light bulb about peace went on for her. She was compelled to share her story with others in her book.

Her story is a universal one of joy lost…and found. Her new book is called, “and she Sparkled.” In it she pleads with each of us to reclaim our magnificence. She asks: “Are people really supposed to listen to their own rhythm and dance? Or should they march in the quiet lines laid out for them?”

“Born in Cambridge, Minnesota, I grew up acting in school plays (my first appearance as a green light bulb was particularly inspiring),” she says. Steffend went onto acting in college plays and did a stint at Warner Brothers Film Actors Workshop in LA. When returning to Minnesota she became an anchor in a regional market.

Moving to the Twin Cities television market, Steffend became a household face in Minnesota during 17 years as news anchor at KARE.

”I had figured out my favorite part of the job, telling people’s stories and having the license to ask people almost anything. At KARE, I started looking for people and stories to uplift the viewers and in the process won quite a few awards, including a national Emmy and the Grand Award from the New York International Film Festival,” Steffend says.

Next came Decorating Cents where Steffend became nationally known. Decorating Cents is for homeowners who care about and want variety in home decor, but are trying to stay within an affordable budget. Steffend adds, “I laughed more and hugged more people during the eleven years and 400 episodes on Decorating Cents than you can imagine.

“My ‘work’ led me to appearances on Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, The CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and Entertainment Tonight to name a few,” she adds.

Even with these achievements, her sense of inner peace was missing. According to her book,

“She decided she could no longer be the person others expected to see. She was that, but she was so much more. She decided to share who she was with the world and with herself. There was magic to be remembered….and there was that urgent and now familiar rhythm that kept her dancing…and looking for new songs to sing.”

Joan Steffend ended her speech with a simple, yet compelling message for inner peace to lead to global peace. It is:

“Remember who you are. Be who you are. Share who you are. Change the world.”

Thank goodness Joan Steffend shrugged off the college professor, made it through live anchoring, and many episodes of Decorating Cents, to find her gifts of public speaking and writing.

Please Comment: How have you come to inner peace? Do you think women, in particular, struggle to find it?

Please credit “Donna Rae Scheffert for Communities” when linking to this story 

Read more from Donna Rae Scheffert at Washington Times Communities and Online Leadership Tools.

Donna Rae is an award winning writer, consultant, planner, facilitator, and coach. She holds the coveted ‘Futures’ award was named an Outstanding Faculty member at the University of Minnesota. She has co-authored five books and numerous articles.

Connect with Donna at LinkedIn      Follow Donna at Twitter



This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from Making Change
blog comments powered by Disqus
Donna Rae Scheffert

Donna Rae Scheffert is a facilitator, consultant and writer. Find more information online at

She lives in Minnesota with her husband and teenage son and daughter.

Honors and awards include University of Minnesota -Distinguished Extension Campus Faculty Award; Minnesota Rural Futures-FUTURES award; and numerous state and national awards for programs and publications.

Scheffert is an author of practical fieldbooks: Committees That Work: Common Traps and Creative Solutions; Social Capital, Building Leadership Programs, and Facilitation Resources available from

Donna Rae is also a Senior Consultant with and an Associate with

Her civic participation includes: Board Member-Community Action Center; Board Member-Women’s Philanthropic Group, and soccer team coordinator.

Photo Credit: Amber Procaccini

Leadership development expert & educator, Donna Rae Scheffert knows how public action by others for others improves lives - she helps people to get involved and provides tools to propel them toward their goals easier, faster, and with more fun. Read more from Donna Rae at

Follow Donna Rae or or





Contact Donna Rae Scheffert


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus