When you sit down to meet with Jo Leonard she will immediately draw a circle on a piece of blank paper. The circle will have your name inside it and everything you tell her about yourself creates spokes, leading from the circle. As the conversation deepens and you discuss your ideas, goals and dreams, barriers and frustrations, the spokes will intersect and elongate, and soon an image will appear. This is how Jo thinks and brainstorms and this is why she is now in her 15th year as the go-to coach for teens and 20-Somethings . When the picture emerges she begins to collaborate with you to map out some goals and strategies.
“I was educated in both the U.S. and the U.K. and I believe that I have benefitted tremendously from the dual cultural experience. My first job in the “real world”, at 10 years old, was serving tea to the customers in our family hotel. From there I followed the advice of mentors, family members and my own instinct and have had a fantastic career as a result. Now I find myself in the fantastic position of being able to help others find their own purpose and path. There is nothing more rewarding.”
When asked about her passion, Jo will tell you that she loves working with young adults. In the book “Drive” Daniel Pink discusses motivation, and how we, as humans, have a deep need to direct our own lives, learn, create new things, do better by ourselves and in the world. I believe that young adults need to feel in control of their education and career planning and be given the autonomy to make their own decisions. “I believe I am so well aligned with this age group because I was myself an intelligent but confused teenager and 20-Something. I didn’t have a specific career in mind, and I wasn’t a natural A-student. But I did have a strong work ethic, was taught to be independent, and I was given the social skills needed to communicate and thrive in social and professional settings. I think my ability to understand this demographic is unique and I consider myself very lucky to have built a career around my passion, guiding and teaching, and building their confidence to make important decisions.
Jo has been asked to train and coach Fulbright Scholars, Ted speakers, university business students, high school student leaders and professionals in transition. She speaks on the power of personal branding, the pitfalls and value of social media, advanced job search skills, and many other topics relevant to 20-Somethings as they try to launch. Her Planet Teen presentation has been widely acclaimed as, “an amazing and truly inspiring day from a woman who is such a motivator. Truly a life altering experience.” True praise indeed from a 19 year old!