Joan Waters '83 Bryant University
Joan Waters '83 is President and CEO of COFCO, a full-service provider of office furniture and related services based in Philadelphia.
Joan Waters ’83: Working harder than the average bear
Sep 18, 2018

Office furniture is more than just where people work or sit, says Joan Waters ’83; it’s an important part of a corporate culture. In today’s competitive world, organizations need to create spaces that reflect their brand and foster an environment to help attract the best talent. 

Waters didn’t set her sights specifically on office furniture, but some unexpected opportunities in that industry came along at the right time.

“I believe that my college education was a big part of why I am where I am today.”

She joined COFCO in 1997, later becoming a partner, and eventually purchasing the company. Today, she is CEO of the $40-million full-service provider of office furniture and related services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company serves clients all over the country, from six-person startups to Fortune-500 clients, and Waters says her time at Bryant gave her the foundation she needed to ascend to leadership.

“Bryant was a great education,” she says. “I believe that my college education was a big part of why I am where I am today.”

Waters credits Bryant basketball with helping teach her discipline, hard work, how to compete, and how to be part of a team. She feels fortunate that her teammates are some of her best friends even today.

Working with a talented and committed team at COFCO inspires her every single day, she says.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the fact that 70 families – not 70 people, but 70 families – are depending on the decisions I make. I take that responsibility extremely seriously,” she says.

And the secret to her success? “The Number 1 reason I’m successful,” she says, “is my willingness to work harder than the average bear – it makes up for a whole lot of other shortcomings!”

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