Jo McConnell

CEO and Director
Gomo Foundation

Jo is CEO of the Gomo Foundation, a not-for-profit that helps transform the lives of girls in Zimbabwe by giving them access to high school education. She tells us why she loves her job.

Why do you love your work?

It’s amazing to be able to directly contribute to better gender equity and education for girls in Africa.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Lots of things, but generally it’s the difference I’ve made to people’s lives. Sometimes it is a small conversation and other times it’s a large, wide-reaching impact – both of these things are meaningful and important.

What makes you feel strong at work?

My confidence has grown over time that’s for sure! There are two things that help me feel confident – firstly, being as prepared as I can be for a situation and secondly, being OK with not knowing or failing – in other words, not caring so much about what other people might think!

Who helped you get to where you are today?

My parents always encouraged a strong work ethic, giving things your best and being kind to people.

Did you know what you wanted to do when you were at school?

I wanted to be an archaeologist for a long time and I even studied it at university for two years. Lots of Indiana Jones growing up in the 1980s!

Do you have any advice for girls thinking about working in your industry?

I’ve worked across many industries – mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, financial services – in different parts of the world. My people and culture skills have allowed me this flexibility, so my advice is to cultivate a broad base which allows you to choose industries that you are passionate about.

Have you had many failures?

Early in my career when I got a big promotion, I tried too hard to impress. I exhausted myself and was too scattered in focus to make the type of impact required. An important early lesson.

In your wildest dreams, what you would love to do and get paid for it?

I actually love what I’m doing now but if I have to choose something else, it would be a professional swim tour guide (yes that job does exist!)

What are your thoughts about the future of work in your industry?

The COVID-19 global crisis has shown how volatile the future will be. The world needs creative, compassionate and innovative thinkers in every profession right now.



Job: CEO
Industry: Not-for-profit