Jo-Ann is the Founder & CEO of Rare Birds, LLC, a Caribbean-based business, which invests in and celebrates early stage women-led social enterprises in developing economies and emerging markets. She was born and raised in St. Croix, Virgin Islands to parents from St. Kitts and Nevis. She is a global citizen, rooted firmly in her Caribbean identity. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the American University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in Environmental Studies. She obtained a Masters in Science in Real Estate Investment from Cass Business School in London and a Masters in Management in Construction from Kingston University, also located in London.
Her professional and cultural experiences span countries and continents, having lived, worked and been educated in in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Prior to founding Rare Birds, LLC she worked for a decade in various roles in the corporate property and construction industry. Her passions, however, lie in sustainability and entrepreneurship in developing economies and emerging markets, as well as South-South Cooperation.
Jo-Ann has also worked as a freelance writer and as an independent consultant to social enterprises-focused on HIV/AIDS, African Development Policy, Food Insecurity, Caribbean Culture and the Arts-in the US and UK.. She is now working in academic institutions around the globe, with her current teacher ship based in Jiangsu Province, China. She has previously delivered guest lectures on agriculture, sustainability and entrepreneurship at Rai University in India, Greenwich University in the UK, the Free Will Baptist School in St.Croix, Virgin Islands and at Secondary Schools in the UK.
Jo-Ann has acted as a Mentor, Advisor and Champion to various global communities. Some of which include the United Nations Women (UN Women) Empower Women community based in NYC, the Women’s Economic Forum, based in India and the Fabulous Fempreneurship community based in Canada.
She is a keen cyclist and runner, sustainability enthusiast, property and architecture admirer, committed traveler and burgeoning gardener. She loves to dance, appreciates a good read-particularly on the topics of history and international political affairs-and finds pleasure in collecting maps. Jo-Ann has been a vegan for 24 years and counting, so when she’s not engaged in the aforementioned you can find her experimenting with plant-based recipes in the kitchen!