May Member Spotlight – Jo Minney

Jo Minney

In a couple of sentences, tell us a bit about yourself
By day, I’m a small business founder and technical communicator. I’m passionate about user experience and accessibility, data-driven decision making, cats, travelling, pockets and making things – not necessarily in that order! I love combining technology and creativity to make cool stuff (both online and offline) and helping others to do the same.

Which recipient of a 100 Women grant are you most passionate about?

There are so many amazing organisations doing such important work, it’s almost impossible to pick one! I’ve been fortunate to work with Zonta House Refuge Association recently, who were one of the first recipients. The diversity in their approach to addressing family domestic violence against women in WA is really impressive and the team there are super passionate. Generally speaking though, my top votes normally go to any organisation that works towards empowering women through education or financial independence.

You also support 100 Women in your day job. Tell us more?

This was a crazy story of getting ‘Perthed’! I actually attended several 100 Women events back in 2014, and my best friend and I went halves in a membership in the very first grant year. Back then, I was working in a completely different industry as a graduate engineer. In 2018 I officially launched my web development business, House Digital, and while I was still building up my portfolio I built a pro-bono website for a social enterprise that is very dear to me that back then was called Perth {web} Girls.

A few years later they went national and rebranded and asked me to build them a new website for what is now She Codes Australia. The Executive Officer for 100 Women saw the new She Codes website right around the time that 100 Women was looking at rebuilding their own, and we ended up working together first on 100women.org.au, and then soon after on developing the online member portal. 100 Women have also been members of our Mission Digital program for the past couple of years, while we help the organisation become more technologically sustainable.

What does it mean to you to be a Philanthropist?
It means giving what you can, when you can, to things that don’t directly benefit you. Back when I worked in the mining industry, donating money was an ‘easy’ way to give back when I was time poor. When I first started my business, I was both time-poor and didn’t have the kind of disposable income that leant itself to traditional philanthropy. I couldn’t afford to take a bunch of time to volunteer, nor could I donate very much, to very many.

My husband Ross and I started the Mission Digital program because we realised that knowledge and expertise had their own kind of value. Of course, we’re now also both members of 100 Women, but the point is that we still found a way to contribute to the ‘greater good’ even when money was tight.

Tell us of a woman that has inspired you and why
Kate Kirwin – WA Young Australian of the Year, founder of She Codes Australia, and one of my best friends. Kate’s superpower is building communities, and she is actively putting that power to use every day by tackling the gender diversity gap in tech. When Kate first wanted to learn to code, she really struggled to do so by herself, and all of the resources and communities (both online and offline) were heavily male-dominated and not welcoming to a young woman. Instead of complaining, Kate fixed that problem and moved on to tackling how we get more women in tech, period.

Name one thing that you believe we should have accessible in this world to improve the lives of women and girls?
Education. I truly believe in the old expression, ‘Knowledge is Power’. Empowering women and girls to make informed decisions about everything from healthcare, to marriage, to politics, to finances – it’s a fundamental human right.

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