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Jo Hampson

Jo Hampson is a former drama teacher, police Chief Superintendent and entrepreneur. Additionally, she is also a highly skilled and inspirational speaker. Equally comfortable delivering a keynote speech at a large conference to addressing special interest groups as an after dinner speaker Jo also delivers corporate motivational seminars.


About Jo Hampson

Jo Hampson has led an extraordinary life. Based on her desire to ‘seize every opportunity’ she has enjoyed a portfolio of careers.  These range from Public Sector positions to successfully creating four of her own businesses  including a fish and chip shop.  As a speaker, she always ensures that her speeches are appropriate to her audience and that her audiences are always informed and entertained.


Originally trained as a drama teacher at Durham, Jo Hampson 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 encompassing being awarded a Royal Humane Society Medal for saving a womans life; being secondment to the New South Wales Police, Australia, and achieving the position of Area Commander in the rank of Chief Superintendent after 14 years 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 – she also smoked privately for HRH Prince of Wales

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’. Following the publication of her first book ‘Life Swap – The Essential Guide to Downshifting’ in 2006, ‘Stepping Off’ rapidly became 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 BBC’s The One Show and ITV’s Good Morning.

Jo developed a passion for local food and produce, leading her to run the Orton Farmers Market – the first accredited farmers market in the UK and she went on to establish the annual Cumbria Food and Drink Festival.

Building on her success at the Old Smokehouse Jo created the first Food Smoking School – Smoky Jo’s – working as a consultant for the food smoking industry, teaching food smoking and helping to establish several food smoking businesses around the world from Brazil to Australia and Nepal to Nigeria, as well as a number in the UK.  She then went on to develop a number of courses teaching people how to smoke their own food at home. She wrote her second book ‘Smoking Food at Home – with Smoky Jo’ in 2011 and Smoky Jo’s is now considered the UK’s experts in smoking food.

In 2013 Jo started yet another business – this time a Fish and Chip takeaway and  restaurant in her village. This created much needed jobs in the area and became a community asset for the area. A year later she won Best New Fish and Chip Business in the UK at the prestigious National Sea Food Awards and many other awards and accolades followed.

Jo is a committed supporter of SMEs and business development and has worked for many years as a Business Mentor. She is particularly supportive of women in business working as an Executive Coach for woman in senior positions and has worked closely with the Australian Spokeswoman’s Network and the Rural Woman’s Network in the UK.

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Jo Hampson News

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