By @SimonCocking

Interview with Jo Miller @Jo_Miller A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after engaging women’s conference speaker. Jo delivers more than 60 speaking presentations on leadership annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women for women’s conferences, associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives.

AA - Network of Executive Women Summit 2013

Your background, how did you end up doing what do you now?

I started out in 1998 doing individual coaching but quickly realized I was not the best coach in the world, but that I love delivering training content. So I had to gain some skills in public speaking, which terrified me, but eventually turned into the career I have today, delivering leadership workshops and keynotes for corporate and professional women’s networks.

Be leaderly – what challenges do you find the most challenging? How quickly are things changing?

BeLeaderly.com is my blog, which I started in July 2014. The tagline: How to lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence. It’s only a year old, but the response has been terrific, and the site has attracted a great community of regular readers and contributors.

My constant challenge is that this is not my “day job” and while I strive to post fresh content three or four times a week, my client gigs are how I make my living, so at times those take precedence. I always keep my antennae up for little bits of leadership content, whether it’s a new leadership quote, or a keynote speaker with a few snippets of great advice that could make an awesome blog post.”

My world seems to be full of amazing leadership content, so part of my challenge is harnessing all those ideas and finding a few minutes a day to get it up on the blog. I keep a running list of ideas that just seems to get longer and longer.

Which areas are you optimistic about / any less so?

My expertise is in helping women who work for large corporations to break out and establish themselves as up-and-coming leaders, and advance their careers. I’m pessimistic because they still face so many challenges. But on the other hand, it means I won’t be out of a job any time soon. It is good to see so much more attention being paid to the problem, with companies tracking metrics related to women in leadership, and investing in training on unconscious bias,

We love travel, have you been to Ireland? Will we see you over at a Web Summit or some kinda event?

I love to travel too! I have not yet visited Ireland, but it’s high on my list. So if you know of a corporate or professional women’s leadership conference that needs a keynote or breakout speaker, let me know. Drinks will be on me!

Where / what is Australiforniowa. Does that mean you’re an Aussie in California? What is good about it for you, especially in a tech / fun way?

I’m an Australian who lived in the Silicon Valley region in California for ten years, then moved to Iowa in 2010. So when people ask me where my accent is from, I tell them I’m “Australiforniowan.”

When I moved, some of my west coast friends were aghast–they consider the American Midwest to be “fly-over country” and I’ll admit I was once one of those people, too. But it’s been a great move. Being centrally located is a great advantage for business travel as I can be on either coast in a half a day. And coming home to peaceful, laid back Iowa is a wonderful change of pace after traveling to big cities like New York, Houston and Chicago.

I travel back to the San Francisco Bay Area frequently for speaking engagements. Hi-tech still represents over 50% of my customer base. In the past month I was there delivering workshops and keynotes to women’s networks at eBay, LinkedIn and Amazon’s Lab126. I head back to San Francisco this week for a new client who provide cloud-based information services and data analytics. So I have been able to keep working with new and existing tech clients, while branching out to work with companies in a wider variety of industries such as finance, energy, agribusiness and heavy manufacturing.

How was 2014, what went well? Anything you’d do differently?

2014 was a dynamic and busy year. I delivered over 70 speaking presentations, webinars and group coaching sessions.

There’s a lot I am doing differently in 2015. I had a really tough week in November 2014 when I caught a cold the same week I was scheduled to deliver four workshops, a panel, and a virtual coaching session. By the end of the week I had completely lost my voice and only just managed to croak my way through the panel. I realized that “more is not necessarily better”, and decided that in 2015 I would scale back a bit, slow down the pace and be a bit more selective in what I say “yes” to. As a result, I’ve been able to spend more time writing, create new content, and travel to some wonderful places, like The Society of Women Engineers’ first European conference in Amsterdam.

Plans for 2015 and the future?

My future plans for 2015 include (finally!) writing a book, doing a TED talk, and whatever comes next as a result of doing those!

You have a great following in twitter, is this part of how you do business (guessing yes) – how has it helped you?

Thank you! I love Twitter and Facebook, and decided that since I was spending so much time on those sites, I might just as well embrace it as my main marketing channel. I try to post useful content constantly, and not do much other marketing. It has led to a 20% increase in new client enquiries in the past year­, more than enough to keep me busy.

Blogging, who do you follow / like what they do?

One leader I interviewed, Sandra Veszi Einhorn, said “Become an asset to someone you aspire to be like” and I have taken that to heart. I enjoy following and retweeting Tara Jaye Frank, Dorie Clark, Amy Cuddy. They all are constant sources of amazing leadership content.

Being a big user of social media, how do you manage life / work, and online / offline balance?

Arianna Huffington introduced me to the concept of ‘ditigal detox’ which I try (any mostly fail) to do one day per week. It’s a work in progress.

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