About Jo

Jo is an experienced consultant who has led a variety of projects and assignments.  She is regularly asked to facilitate strategy sessions with leadership teams, coach emerging leaders and lead substantial policy, strategy and gender projects. Recent assignments include evaluating Sport NZ's gender equity in governance policy, leading sessions at  APEC 2023 on gender equality in customs and border agencies, working with the New Zealand Defence Force's leadership team on the gender diversity of the forces, and completing a gender analysis of immigration policy.  

Jo was the previous Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women. One of the youngest Chief Executives ever appointed in the New Zealand Public Service, she has invested her time and energy in advancing the cause of the vulnerable in society, spearheading some of the most difficult issues of our time, including child abuse, child poverty, family violence and vulnerable women. 

Formerly the Deputy Children's Commissioner and leader of the Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, Jo is a director on a number of Government and NGO boards (including the New Zealand Media Council, Royal New Zealand Navy Leadership Board, Literacy Aotearoa and CORE Education Ltd).  She has a Doctorate in Public Policy that investigated the contracting relationship between governments and NGOs. 

Following her move to a portfolio career, Jo extensively researched the future of work and the result was the 2018 co-authored book Don't Worry About the Robots: How to Survive and Thrive in the New World of Work which provides an accessible synthesis of the trends in technology that are impacting on work and practical tools for future-proofing careers.  The book has been re-printed multiple times.  

In 2020, she co-authored the book Take Your Space: Successful Women Share their Secrets; the aim of which is support women and girls to advance themselves.  All proceeds from the book will be donated to The Aunties and Otara Blue Light programme to support young women leaders.  

In 2016 she was a finalist in the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards and in 2014 was one of three recipients of a Westpac Leadership Fellowship. In 2021 she won the Women in Governance Community Award from Governance New Zealand.  

Jo is the proud mother of two and provides them with excellent taxi services. She also distills her own gin.