Jo works with nonprofit and foundation clients to help them solve their most significant and complex strategic challenges. She specializes in business planning, foundation strategy, and helping federated organizations and affiliates leverage their respective strengths for mission success. She is a skilled listener and frequently serves as a trusted advisor to organizational leaders in managing change.
"I try to bring clients solid analysis combined with an understanding of the human, cultural, and political aspects of their organization in thinking about how to stretch to meet their goals."
Jo is particularly adept at working with large, complex organizations as well as smaller foundations that need to be more creative to achieve their desired philanthropic impact. Asked about some of her most rewarding work, Jo cites her experience leading an unprecedented community organizing and development effort in the steel towns of Mon Valley in Western Pennsylvania as well as a business planning project helping a youth development organization that had recently made a successful turnaround to identify and get ready to take on its "next big thing." Jo is inspired by working with advocacy organizations fighting for human and civil rights, and those working to tackle big systemic issues, like education. Past clients include Girls Inc, Camp Fire, Trying Together (formerly PAEYC), N Street Village, Kansas Health Foundation, and the Jefferson Foundation.
"One of the things I like best about this work is the opportunity to learn about fields that I don't know a lot about. While on its face that may seem to make my involvement less valuable, I find that it prompts me to ask questions that can unlock new thinking in a way I'm not sure someone who knows a field would do."
Jo has a background in business as well as extensive nonprofit leadership experience. Prior to joining La Piana in 2005, Jo served as the director of the Tides Center in Pittsburgh and D.C. and was the founding executive director of a regional coalition of community economic development organizations. She has also served as a public school trustee and chaired a Congressional commission working with the National Park Service. She has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Business from Duquesne University. Jo is a long-time board member of the Human Services Center Corporation, regarded as the premier provider of in-school programs for youth in the Pittsburgh area.
Jo is available as a speaker on nonprofits and systems change, bringing depth and breadth of experience with a diverse array of nonprofits and foundations to draw out lessons that can be applied in other organizations across the sector.
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Learn more about Jo in this La Piana Consulting staff interview.