by LYDIA COBB | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Lifting Up Others

faces_mccloskey2faces_mccloskey3Joe and Debby McCloskey have a combined 11 sisters. That’s plenty of female influence, according to Joe, and part of the inspiration behind their nonprofit organization, Helping Women Help Themselves. “We believe that if you help women, it makes for a stronger family, which leads to a better community and a better world,” he reflected. He and Debby met in high school in the Detroit, MI area and have been married for 38 years. Their family includes their daughter, Kate, two cocker spaniels, and five thoroughbred racehorses.

Helping Women Help Themselves opened in Vista three years ago. The McCloskeys were supporting a nonprofit that managed micro-loans for low-income women. But additional business debts caused client anxiety in some entrepreneurs. Joe and Debby realized these women needed more education about running a small business. “So we decided to take matters into our own hands and create a nonprofit that focused entirely upon education and ongoing business support,” mentioned Joe. They first focused on women who couldn’t afford credible business advice.

Name: Joe and Debby McCloskey
Community: Vista (office) and Solana Beach (residence)
Profession: Co-founders of Helping Women Help Themselves
Family: Daughter – Kate; Animals – two cocker spaniels, five racehorses
Interests: Thoroughbred horse racing

faces_mccloskey5Men are included. “We tell everyone, it’s not for us to say if a business idea is good or bad,” shared Joe. “The marketplace will tell you.” They help make certain that their business leaders have the best possible chances for success by knowing basic business principles and understanding their personal definition of success. For some, Joe mentioned, it’s making a few extra thousand dollars annually to start a college fund, for example. For others, it might mean making six figures. “Either way, the same basic business principles apply,” he added. The organization provides one-on-one business consultation services free of charge in their Vista office.

Joe McCloskey brings more than 35 years of business experience in running both Fortune 500 and private companies. Debby McCloskey is an artist and decorator, and manages the creative and administrative aspects. The organization collaborates with San Diego County Libraries as host sites for free, two-hour small business seminars. Those interested may follow up for consultations. They also present sessions at Board of Equalization conferences. All types of individuals have been guided in their successful businesses, from doctors and attorneys to inventors, manufacturers, and people who begin with little. It’s all in a day’s work for Joe and Debby to help others help themselves.