Growing up in Jindabyne, in the luscious surroundings of the Snowy Mountains, Jo (as she describes it) was spoilt with having parents who loved the outdoors.
Now living on a small farm south of Wagga in NSW with her husband Hugh and their two daughters, Matilda and Anthea; Jo has dedicated her life to advocating for Regional Australia and the professionals who are disadvantaged by the (lack of) availability of professional roles due to their physical location.
Jo’s commitment to mobilising business in Regional Australia started in 2013 when she set up a comprehensive learning and tutoring business that went on to operate in three regional towns in southern NSW.
In 2014 she started working remotely as a Sponsorship Manager for a Sydney-based company; then in 2016 Jo co-found Agri Alliance, a Sponsorship & Event Management company servicing the agricultural industry.
While assessing the employment needs for the growth of the business, Jo and her co-founder Sally discussed the idea of outsourcing roles within the company to people who had far more knowledge and understanding than themselves.
Looking at her own network of highly qualified, professional friends who were living in regional areas, Jo quickly realised that it was not only Agri Alliance that would benefit from their experience, but others would as well – and this is where Pointer began!
Pointer is now a hub for employers to find the best person for the job, regardless of where they live; while also operating as a one-stop shop for all the incredibly talented professionals looking to work remotely.
“There is an enormous amount of untapped talent and experience living in regional Australia and I feel that having created this platform, that it is my responsibility to show them to the world!”
In acknowledgement of their hard work, this year Jo won three awards – The Soar Awards Regional Contribution Award; Regional Australia Institute – Finalist in Lightbulb Moments Competition; and the Wagga Business Chamber – Finalist, Startup Superstar.
Despite her passion for making a difference and having won awards this year alone: Jo says she’s most proud of the job she’s doing raising two young girls.
“My girls are brought up in a home that demonstrates ‘they can do whatever they want with their life, and that’s something I’m most proud of”
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt however, it’s that being a great role model has positively helped shape my life and who I’ve become. I believe that “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” – so raising two girls, I’m conscious of my actions being a demonstration that my girls can start something from scratch and they too can be their own boss!
Looking back on my own life, I never really had one person, book or movie that inspired me. For me, inspiration came from movements and waves of people doing amazing things.
We’re in an era of ‘give it a crack’, so I find people doing that to be incredibly inspiring. There are some really cool people doing some really cool stuff –
If we can learn to collaborate, we can share the load and find better ways of working with people who are much better at doing things than we are – that’s exactly how the idea for Pointer first came about. Now look at us!
We’re doing some really great things and we’re making a big difference, but trying to fund a startup is by far the biggest challenge I’ve had. I know I’m not alone, but it’s tough to get an idea off the ground.
“Launching a business and doing things on a shoestring budget has definitely helped shape the person I am today. I’m grateful for the positives that I’ve seen come from really pushing myself to network and get myself and the business out there”.
As for the future, I want to be remembered for helping to level the playing field when it comes to professionals competing for a role regardless of where they live. I want to be at the forefront of the way we work; and if a role can be done somewhere other than in front of a computer, or in an office, then I want it to be advertised with us.
I want people staying in their job for longer than two years because their job is flexible and is conducive to real life – for both city and regionally based people. Why, because I believe, “the best managers trust that their employees are working to the best of their ability, regardless of where their laptop is open.”
In the meantime, come and be part of a global movement of Women Unleashed! – women who, just like Jo, are committed to making a difference and living a meaningful life!
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