Jo Cullen


Whilst at my husband’s Christmas party I overheard a conversation in which Tim and his colleagues were raving about a “Town Hall” meeting they attended that day and how supportive their boss was. I was intrigued to find out more about his boss as she sounded like a worthy #leadinglight.  Jo was open to being interviewed despite thinking she isn’t very inspirational.  Read on to find out how wrong she is …

Jo CullenBio: Jo’s parents arrived from Ireland in the 1950s with very limited resources.  The family found lodgings in Toxteth, Liverpool, living in one room for several years and sharing meagre facilities with many other immigrant families.   It was an impoverished but hugely loyal and supportive community, many of whom became life-long friends.   Jo’s Dad managed to find work and gradually moved them to a better home.   His hard work and resilience has been a huge influence in Jo.   She gives 150% to her work and her family and her main driver is to give her 2 sons a life full of opportunities and choices.

Jo started her career in IT after obtaining an Engineering Degree. After several promotions she was appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) aged just 42. Soon after that she chose to become an interim IT specialist and for over 10 years worked in many organisations, travelling worldwide. In 2014 Jo accepted a permanent position as Group Head of Information Systems for Bakkavor Group; a leading manufacturer in freshly prepared foods.

Why Tim Reed nominated Jo as a #leadinglight:

  • Each morning Jo likes to walk through the open plan office greeting her 100 strong team. She cares about her staff. “We are here for so many hours it’s important to occasionally have a banter and enjoy being at work”. She takes time to listen and get to know every individual, no matter what job they do. Jo runs quarterly “Town Hall” meetings to foster relationships, enable her team to learn in a fun way, and reward those who go the extra mile.
  • Jo successfully uses the techniques she learnt as an interim manager to get things done. She has the ability to quickly assimilate what is going in an organisation, understand the issues, create a vision based on best practice and then influence the decision makers for the go ahead to achieve the vision.
  • Jo gives her management team total trust. To enable them to be successful she clearly communicates the vision, framework and output required and ensures that each person is clear on which output they are accountable for. With her open door policy, she is always happy for her staff to openly talk over ideas and potential solutions.

People who have influenced Jo:

Jo’s father has been a huge influence. His hard work and determination enabled her to have an education that opened so many doors for her.

And Mrs Brown (from Mrs Brown’s Boys). Her job is to enable her family to be the best they can be, offer up tough love when it is needed and make some fun and mischief along the way. (And this sounds very much like Jo, herself!)

Jo’s nominations for career attributes for the future: Maintain your integrity, have a clear vision, respect the people who will help you deliver that vision (nothing is achieved alone, it is about team work).

Nominated by Tim Reed and modelled by Lindsey Reed

If you know someone who has inspired you, why not nominate them as the next #leadinglight? To read about our other #leadinglights, click here.


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