Former drama teacher and Thames Valley Chief Superintendent Jo has demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial skills since leaving the force. In great demand as a keynote, inspirational and motivational speaker, she is uplifting, informative and entertaining.Authors, Business Speaker, Change Management, Crime & Security, Entrepreneurs, Environment and Ecology, Motivational & Inspirational, Retail & Manufacturing
Originally trained as a drama teacher at Durham, Jo cut her teeth at tough inner London schools until the late Eighties, when she felt compelled to join the Metropolitan Police. Showing immediate promise, she was promptly selected for the Accelerated Promotion Scheme. In a rewarding Police career punctuated by receiving the Royal Humane Society Medal, having saved the life of a woman attempting suicide and achieving the position of Area Commander in the rank of Chief Superintendent, Jo again decided that the time was right for a change of scenery and launched her entrepreneurial venture.
Leaving behind the job security (and the pension!) of her established position with Thames Valley Police, Jo moved north to Cumbria and purchased a small business smoking food. Turning an adept hand to the retail industry, within three years the business’s turnover had increased 350% and they were able to count Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason as valued customers.
Selling The Old Smokehouse in 2005, Jo felt so fulfilled by her downshift from city life that she created ‘Stepping Off’, operating residential training schemes for those wishing to escape the ‘rat race’. Since recently publishing her first book ‘Life Swap - the essential guide to downshifting’ in 2006, Stepping Off are rapidly becoming the authority on downshifting, making them a regular source of reference for journalists. Jo’s unique business flair has caught the eye of the media and she has been filmed for a number of television programmes including a Richard Bilton Special Report for the BBC, German TV and local BBC and Border channels.
In addition to her immediate business interests, Jo has a passion for local produce, leading her to found the Orton Farmers Market - the first accredited farmers market in the UK - and the Cumbria Food and Drink Festival.
Jo is also an enthusiastic supporter of business development, undertaking motivational and change management work through her affiliated training company ‘soTraining’. She is particularly supportive of women in business, having worked closely with the Australian Spokeswoman’s Network and the Rural Woman’s Network in the UK on motivational workshops and voluntary business mentoring.
As a speaker, Jo is equally comfortable delivering a keynote speech, at a large conference, addressing special interest groups and running corporate motivational seminars.