My work: Encouraging and enabling honest, authentic relational practice with people through life long learning.
Jo specialises in promoting evidence-informed practice among people who work with children, young people and adults in social care and education. She helps practitioners build their approach to social work and healthcare on helpful relationships with those they serve, empowering them to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
With her co-Director Peter, she leads a team of brilliant, innovative and passionate professionals dedicated to helping children and young people by creating really helpful training programmes. Our 10-strong team works across the UK and in Australia to support workforces who want to deliver evidence-informed, relational practice guided by critical thinking and emotional wisdom.
Jo has a Bachelor’s degree in social work from Australia. Her work in the field of reflective supervision is captured in a co-authored book titled Reflective Supervision: A handbook (Research in Practice, Dartington, 2016). Her podcast with Gerry Nosowska, ‘Helpful Social Work,’ is one of the most popular podcasts for social work professionals in the UK.
What’s a quote you live by or that inspires you?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
This quote inspires me as a social worker and as a human living on this planet. Together we can do better today than we did yesterday.
What are three key values that guide your life choices?
Be kind. Be courageous. Be authentic.
What makes you laugh?
Humans, dogs, sunshine, waves, good food, good company, dancing. My husband and my son.
What has been your proudest moment as a practitioner?
This was hard but lovely to do. So many faces flashed up before me. I think it would be many years ago after I had helped set up a parent advocacy group for parents of children with disabilities. It was an absolutely gruelling thing as I worked for the organisation they most wanted to change which led to some really tricky encounters over the two years I worked there. When I left they wrote me a collective reference which talked about my courage and integrity and said I had joined in their struggles. I have always taken that as my gold standard for service ever since.
What has been your proudest moment as a trainer?
Once again…when you work with inspirational and courageous people it’s hard to pick just one moment. I love it when people come up to me years after going on our course and tell me they still use our materials or remember something I have said. A professor once said I was very ‘down with the people’ and I took that as a real compliment.
Also podcasting our Helpful Social Work podcast and having people say they find it helpful and interesting…that is nice.
What makes you get up each morning?
The sun, the birds, the new day. I am a very ‘today is another day’ person and I love mornings. Seeing my husband’s and my son’s faces over the breakfast table is always a bonus. When I’m away it’s the thought of working with a new group of dedicated professionals to tackle the rich and thorny issues of life that gets me up and going. It’s the knowledge that young people today are smart, passionate and switched on and will be able to tackle some of the issues we struggle with today.
How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who wanted to leave the world a better place than I found it. I am very conscious of the inequality in the world and the need for us to all do better by each other. I would hope people would see that I had tried to live up to that in my day-to-day life. Mostly I would like people to have a smile on their face when they thought of me – like I do when I think of my mum. I want people to know that I lived my life well.
What’s one piece of wisdom that guides you?
My mum has lots of sayings that I love but my favourite is: ‘If you don’t blow your own trumpet you might as well use it as a spittoon.” She reminded me to be proud of my talents and use my gifts wisely and well. I am proud of who I am, and of my profession. Being a social worker is a privilege and a source of great pride to me.
What has been your proudest moment as a trainer?
” Once again…when you work with inspirational and courageous people it’s hard to pick just one moment. I love it when people come up to me years after going on our course and tell me they still use our materials or remember something I have said. A professor once said I was very ‘down with the people’ and I took that as a real compliment”.
High quality training programmes and balanced practice frameworks to empower social workers, healthcare professionals, managers and leaders.
"Va-va-voom put back into my job!"
Durham Strengthening Managers Programme
"Very useful and interesting workbook that will help with further learning and training; very engaging trainer."
Telford Strengthening Practice Programme