Ever since she was a young child searching for identical snowflakes through her magnifying glass, Jo Ousterhout has been driven by a need to make sense of the world around her. A constant asker of questions, she has spent her adult life using her discoveries to create clarity and demystify complex issues. Her parents and siblings will recall her implementation of the Dewey Decimal system in their home library (plus the fines she made them pay for late returns.) Her fellow trainees at Continental Bank in the 1980s will remember her as the girl who organized a tour of the cash management department of the bank as a way to expose the inner workings of the institution as a whole.
This curiosity has led Jo from Chicago to New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Today, settled in Washington, DC, she’s never been clearer on anything than she is on her belief that without women in positions of leadership, government and other societal organizations cannot be truly effective.
As an executive and consultant on Wall Street, as Executive Director at Dress for Success in London, and as an informal career consultant to many women, Jo worked tirelessly to create opportunities for women by making sense of the steps necessary to advance within the workforce and ultimately gain equal footing.
Most recently, Jo has thrown her efforts wholeheartedly towards the empowerment of women in politics. A Co-Founder of Entrepreneurs for Hillary, National Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum, and an early member of the Electing Women Alliance, she has motivated donors and volunteers with her straight talk and clear vision to raise funds and engage women for a variety of candidates and organizations whose work has helped diversify the political landscape.
Jo adds activist to a long list of career-defining roles including executive, consultant, and entrepreneur. She pioneered one of the first trading desks in the loan syndications business, broke into e-commerce as CEO of Yahoo!’s ‘Best of the Web’ retailer for high-end chocolates, and then co-founded Metta Journeys, a philanthropic travel company which gave people a way to experience first-hand the impact of NGO work in formerly war torn regions.
Jo attributes her business acumen to the M.B.A. she holds from Wharton School, but her knack for leadership can be traced back to her days at William and Mary where she captained her team to 4th place in the first ever US collegiate national tournament for women’s field hockey. In 2012 she received the Tribe for LIFE honor, awarded to W&M alumnae who demonstrate career leadership, integrity, fortitude and excellence.
In her downtime, Jo can be found test tasting the latest DC cuisine with her husband Jeff, devouring life-hack blogs, or looking for more answers on her travels around the world.