Jo is one of the Co-Founders of SO Australia and has, from the very beginning, spread the word about this project to a lot of people. She’s started the SO conversation with friends and family in Sydney and abroad (believe it or not, she even moved to the UK for two years and worked with a London-based magazine to find out how SO could get off the ground!) Jo was also a keynote speaker representing SO at a forum for professional women.
Her passion for people has brought her around the world and she’s picked up many valuable gifts and lessons from everyone she’s met along the way, and has shared some of her insights with SO (of course!). Have you read The Suitcase Philosphy?
SO… let’s introduce you to Jo:
1. You are one of the Co-Founders of SO. What inspired you to take SO from a concept and turn it into a reality?
I’ve always had a keen interest in media but no idea how to navigate a career in the industry, let alone set up a digital magazine! In fact, it really is a case of third time lucky. Kristina and I attempted to start an online journal twice before SO’s launch in 2014 but we never felt like we had the relevant knowledge or time to take on a project of it’s size. What we did have was a big vision – which we’ve kept!
Someone had told me about a similar project in the UK and I decided to move there to get experience. After two years of work experience I felt that I had more confidence to forge ahead with SO and, with some encouragement from a great bunch of friends, we did it!
2. You’ve seen the evolution of SO. How has it changed over the years?
Wow, well, it’s been 10 years! One thing in particular that has really been impressed up on me during this time is the power of conversation. Two people talking, sharing interests and life, resulted in this great project which focuses on exactly that which got it started – conversation and community.
SO started with no money, no resources (we didn’t even have our own computer!) and no industry experience. To see this project begin in such a way and now have a team of creative, talented and unique individuals who share a common passion – without mention of the little ripples our articles have been making overseas – it’s incredibly inspiring.
3. SO… what are you passionate about? Why?
I’m passionate about people, knowledge and life. Everyone is worthwhile, and we are all born with our own unique strengths and talents – so why waste them? A friend of mine passed away during volunteer work in South America. She was only in her early 20s. I knew her to be so full of life and positive about everything and everyone. I have tried to adopt her spirit ever since. Sometimes I feel we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the gifts we have – and then how could we believe we’d ever make a difference?
Certainly in the time after leaving high school, life and people were my greatest teachers as I was a pretty average student. I enjoyed hearing other people’s stories and struggles which quite often, was entirely foreign to me. I’ve also been a huge fan of reading but I was a late bloomer when it came to the education aspect of learning. Now of course if I had my time over, I’d focus on study as there immense value in this not only for the individual but it’s also a great way to connect with others we don’t share immediate interests with.
4. What do you hope to see SO achieve in 2016?
We have a core community at SO but I would love to see this expand! I’m not amazing with numbers, but I can imagine that if every young female voice in Australia expressed an interest in our project, that would be a lot of voices and a lot of stories!
SO… I nominate you – the reader – to be courageous, be heard and inspire others with your story.