Joy was born and grew up in New Zealand and received her BCom in Accounting and Finance from the University of Otago in 1981. In 1984 she moved to the U.S. and completed her PhD in Accounting and Finance from the University of Rochester. Joy moved to Vancouver in 1989 to take up a faculty position in the Sauder School of Business at UBC, where she still works as an Associate Professor of Accounting.
Joy attends West Point Grey United Church and serves as treasurer. Joy and her husband, Bill, live in Point Grey and they have two children.