Jo-Ann is a Teacher, Podcaster and the Curator of Rare Birds. She was born and raised in St. Croix, Virgin Islands to parents from St. Kitts and Nevis.
Prior to founding Rare Birds, she worked for a decade in the corporate real estate investment and construction industry in multiple roles. Alongside her corporate work she freelanced for social enterprises-focussed on emerging market cultural and development issues. She has done career, business and entrepreneurship mentoring in various communities including: the United Nations Women, Empower Women community based in NYC, the Women’s Economic Forum based in India and the global startup community StartUp Grind.
Since leaving the corporate environment, Jo-Ann has been creating and delivering technology and business curriculum to secondary schools, universities and startup communities. She has done so in the Virgin Islands, UK, India, The Gambia and China.
She has a strong interest in blockchain technology and is an EthGlobal Hack Money Hacker Alumni, Gitcoin KERNEL (Genesis Block) Fellow Alumni and a SheFi Fellow. She currently leads the Shanghai Codecademy Blockchain Chapter and also writes a weekly crypto in emerging markets newsletter.
We at Start.Up Lounge Africa are very proud to count Rare Birds among one of our most reliable partners on our flagship "54 Days Across Africa" virtual startups ecosystems tour. Engaging with JoAnn and her hardworking team resulted in the stories of our startup founders reaching miles and locations we could not have imagined. They fully immersed themselves in the project, came with so much infectious energy and ensured each final output was nothing short of absolute quality. The Rare Bird's team has African startups at heart and it is for that reason we will continue to work with them.
I love the fact that Rare Birds is similar to an oasis. It’s a meeting place of unique minds who are all so deeply involved in the work they do. It’s also extremely progressive! The social money, slack platform, content is all very future-focused and I think the world needs more of that. Jo-Ann is curious by nature. Her mind ticks at a different pace and often her line of questioning indicates that, “Hey, this woman is determined to create a ripple of change across the globe”. I think she offers a very practical perspective to podcasting and community building in general.
Rare Birds has shown me the importance of networking. My very first podcast appearance was on the rare birds podcast platform. This was the catalyst for me in starting my own podcast! It was there I understood the importance of sharing my expertise with others.
Jo-Ann had a vision of bringing the start ups together, bringing experts together, to support each other, and it’s worked tremendously for me and I’m certain to countless others
Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do!
I was introduced to Rare Birds through it’s fearless, vibrant and brilliant Chieftess, JoAnn when I participated in a Kernel Fellowship. From my own experience, I immediately saw the platform would play an important role in linking startups to much-needed resources and support.
Rare Birds reflects JoAnn’s passion for connecting people and building a strong community of entrepreneurs in emerging economies. The quality of entrepreneurs on the podcast has resulted in an incredible virtual library of great insights into the struggles and successes' that can be expected along the entrepreneur’s journey. I am proud to be part of the Rare Birds community and eager to see the next phase unfold.
Jo-Ann is one of the most vibrant personalities I have met in KERNEL. She is an amazing leader, and I strongly believe in the vision of Rarebirds.
Working with Jo-Ann was an absolute pleasure and I really appreciated her enthusiasm, support and passion for emerging and frontier markets. I believe Rare Birds is a wonderful platform for all frontier market startups and asset managers to utilize to help work together as a community.
Jo-Ann is a great source of inspiration and always gave me great entrepreneur advice. Through RareBirds podcast and articles, I have been able to learn a lot about business and also educate myself about actual social issues. Furthermore, representation matters a lot to me and the possibility to discover portraits of women and men from the Caribbean and all over the world encouraged me to take the leap and speak my message to the world by launching my project!
As a Entrepreneur in Africa, connecting with a network of legitimate Entrepreneurs from different regions and continent who are also your friends is one of the best support systems to have.
RareBirds provides this support for me, and I find that the quality and diversity of Entrepreneurs within the RareBirds network truly inspires me. In collaborating with Rarebirdies, I have acquired more knowledge resulting in growth both personally and business wise.
Rare Birds is rare. Not just by name but by the access it gives to reliable insight and a growing global network of change-makers and innovators from Ghana to China, from Gambia to the United States.
I met Jo-Ann through her podcast series on New frontiers of African Tech. Jo-Ann to me is summarized as a “Complete Support System’’ because of her amazing willingness and ability to support and encourage people. Within the short time of knowing her, she has helped me form important networks and relationship that has helped my business and my personal development.
Her vision to link African Americans and Caribbean’s in the diaspora to business in their home countries is admirable. Not only does she talk but she walks the talk. Through her rare birds’ community, she has been able to bring entrepreneurs, investors and professionals from all over the world to interact and provide support for each other.
I love her energy, positivity and overall, her big heart. Jo-Ann is tremendous and sometimes I wonder what inspires her.