Jo Ann Ross is a member of the board of Directors for Junior Achievement Zimbabwe(JAZ) and has been since 1999 to date. She is pleased that working with JAZ has made her to make an impact on the youths in Zimbabwe. She learned about the organization in 1997 through Debra Otitis-Stinton and Maggie Magadza who was then the Director.
Born in Birmingham in the late 1930’s, Jo Ann had her primary education there and came to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) with her parents who settled in Mutare (Umtali)where she finished her schooling. After school Jo Ann went to Durban and Addington Hospital where she trained as a nurse before returning to Mutare, and as many nurses did in those early days, met and married a policeman, Angus Ross.
“As time went on l realized l was passionate about communications and started my first magazine the Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Magazine with help from Pfizer”. Jo Ann, at the time, was the chair of the ZNCC Public Relations committee and it was not long before she was asked to run a magazine for entrepreneurs. Working with Enock Moyoandan Austrian Development Agency they developed the SSE News that went out to the various Aid agencies and the local ‘Tuck shops’ to help develop a business culture. During that time she was also running six other magazines, and simultaneously running a distribution center for several associations. – (no e-mails in those days!)
When Jo Ann joined the board the first thing she did was to mentor girls to give them confidence to be able to run their own businesses. “I worked with girls from Dominican Convent and managed get them on a breakfast programme at ZBC. They were able to talk about Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and show their business knowledge and their projects,that made me very proud indeed.”
“Success means to me, making progress in your field and identifying opportunities for growth and I am so glad that is what JA is doing. We have made a lot of progress over the years and we are still growing” said Jo Ann.
She went on to say that she would like to see every child getting to know about JAZ and what it does. Everyone should be taught about entrepreneurship and Jo Ann is passionate about JAZ and what the organization offers.
“We need more people who are entrepreneurs, who are into business, people who can generate income. l believe that JAZ is really contributing to the community. For instance when you see some of our alumni and how they have developed you can see that the organization is making an impact.
Jo Ann urged youths to look at their surroundings and identify where there is a need and then find an opportunity to serve that need. “Youths should always look things in a positive way,” she said.