Jo is an LGBTQ and civil rights advocate, using storytelling as a way of helping people to step beyond their comfort zones when it comes to social justice. Through her memoirs, articles, a play, and numerous speaking engagements, Jo challenges her readers and listeners to not only
accept those who are different from themselves, but also to become allies in the battle to ensure equal rights for all.
Jo wrote the best-selling book, Once a Girl, Always a Boy. In the year since publication, it has become a standard read for anyone with a transgender loved one, earning a spot on the USA Today’s list of the top 10 LGBTQ books to read for Pride Month. It has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Annual Indie Excellence Juror’s Choice Award and the Independent Publishing Award.
Jo’s books have earned starred reviews from Kirkus and the Library Journal. She is an NBC Think Contributor and has been interviewed by NPR. She has written articles for and been interviewed by numerous news outlets, including Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, the Texas
Standard, and a Slice of MIT, to mention just a few.
Before becoming an author and speaker, Jo earned an BS in engineering from MIT and an MBA from Stanford. She worked in the transit and high-tech industries, eventually landing as a professor at St. Edward’s University where she taught classes in Statistics and in Operations
Management. She is currently adapting her second book for the stage. Through storytelling, Jo seeks to both challenge pre-conceived notions and to inspire change.
Certifications & Education
- B.S., Civil Engineering, MIT
- M.B.A, Stanford University
- Parenting a transgender child
- Growing up in the civil rights movement
Most Requested Presentations
- Political Challenges Facing the Transgender Community
- Transgender Athletes & Where They Should Play
- How to be a Social Justice Advocate
- Growing Up White & Jewish in an All-Black Town
Awards & Recognition
- 2016 Humanitarian Award from the Austin Anti-Defamation League
- 2015 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Award in Non-Fiction
- 2015 Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award
- Wall Street Journal List of Best-Selling E-books
- 2020 LGBTQ Books Read During Pride Month, USA Today
- 2020 Readers’ Favorite Award
- 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award
- “24 of the Best Memoirs to Read this Year,” Parade Magazine