Members On Their Way

Members On Their Way: Jo Wright

Meet the magazine obsessive who's using her childhood passion to empower young women.

By Natalie Cornish

Members On Their Way

Meet the magazine obsessive who's using her childhood passion to empower young women.

By Natalie Cornish

An early obsession with magazines led Jo Wright to study design. She achieved her dream by landing a job designing the pages of her favourite titles, before embarking on a masters in Fine Art. Painting young women sparked a renewed interest in the issues they face, that has since resulted in Jo launching WinWinan empowering online magazine that speaks to young women at a pivotal time for equality (read the latest edition here). Here, Jo talks WinWin’s “big sister” Future Women, empowering the next generation, an ambitious crowdfunding campaign and her quest to finally finish reading a book.

I joined Future Women because, initially, I just loved the concept. I loved the idea of a membership, and the excitement and freshness that was behind the brand. Then, as FW has evolved, I’ve really enjoyed the community, especially when the Facebook group was formed.

In various ways, FW has been a supporter of WinWin since the beginning. It feels a bit like FW is WinWin’s older sister! I won a ticket to the Executive Summit early in 2019, which was a fantastic couple of days hearing from diverse and inspiring women. It took place very shortly after I launched the first edition of WinWin, so it was great timing: a distraction and boost. An injection of much-needed steam!

I’ve met some fantastic women in the group, who have similar interests, and we keep in touch – they are very supportive. Independent publishing is not for the faint hearted, and WinWin is a tiny operation, it’s so easy to be in my own bubble. Community, shared knowledge, having people to shout out to when you have a question… it’s priceless!

Image Credit Instagram @winwinmagazine / Artwork by @carla_mcrae

WinWin has been my labour of love for a few years, with a couple of pauses to have my two kids in 2016 and 2018! We launched in March 2019 as an online platform for young (identifying) women 16-24. WinWin takes very seriously the interests and concerns of young women: Work, life, travel and power.

I wanted to create the thing I wish I had when I was that age, and it is getting a great response. I think that this audience is so under-served by the media, and social media can be a great escape, but has all the pitfalls that we hear so much about.

I’m currently working really hard on raising some cash for our plans next year, via our first crowdfunding campaign. It is daunting, but necessary. WinWin to date is largely self-funded, and we need revenue to continue. We have irons in the fire for commercial partnerships, but that process needs to be slow and specific. Most exciting of all, and if the campaign is successful, I’m planning on producing a beautiful print Annual in 2020. WinWin, IRL! You can find and pledge to the crowdfunding campaign here.

I’m really passionate about women’s equality. What motivates me to be part of creating change: the gender pay gap; the level of violence committed against women in this country – often in our own homes – and the fact that girls do not have equal access to education around the world.

There’s too much complexity in all of that to describe here, and things are more complicated for women of colour, women with disabilities and the LGBTQI community. Obviously these are problems that a magazine can’t solve. But WinWin is designed to be a toolkit for empowerment.

I have the belief that if someone is provided information and inspiration, and can see others like them achieving things, and hear their real stories, they have more of a chance to access their own inner strength. Then they have all the potential in the world take care of themselves, to make their own decisions, not put up with BS, to feel strong to be able to stand up for what they believe in, and then ultimately make change happen.

I have two little kids and a start-up; consequently, I have many unfinished books on my bedside table! A couple of books in the pile include Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, and Hunger by Roxane Gay. Who knows when, but I’ll probably have to restart each of them at some point…

I find myself listening to strong female artists on repeat, whenever I’m on deadline, to a point where I associate a particular artist with a magazine edition. Edition one: Sigrid; edition two: Ariana Grande; edition three: Thelma Plum (we interviewed her in that issue, she’s incredibly candid and inspiring!).

A great memory of 2019 is driving to Sydney on my way to the Future Women Exec Summit, having *just* launched WinWin 01, blasting Sigrid’s Don’t Kill My Vibe!

“Process is everything, and nothing is black and white” is a motto I love. In fact this was the broad theme of our last edition!

I think the remarkable happens in the everyday. I’m lucky to have some wonderful and resilient women in my life. In particular, a couple of friends that – although both now live overseas – provide me with laughter, support, fist bumps, perspective, check-ins and more, all via a group chat we’ve now shared for years. There’s a lot of life events in that thread!

I’m learning so much with my work, I’m exhausted by the idea of any more ‘big learnings’! Instead, what comes to mind is fun stuff: picking up the piano again that I played as a kid, the Spanish I learned when I was in my twenties or picking up my paintbrush again after a few years hiatus.

My driving force is making life a little easier, or empowered, for at least one young (identifying) woman.

The future for women is bright, always.

We can lift each other up when we embrace the things that make us different, stop comparing, withhold judgement, see the positive of what people are working on, and pitch in.

I’m most fulfilled when I feel like I’m striking some sort of imperfect balance between feeling relaxed and present with my kids, and achieving stuff with work. There are other things, but that is my picture of success right now.

Self care means really thinking about what I want and need, how I feel in the moment, and seeing if I can serve myself a little better. And asking for things when I need to. That all seems a bit vague. So, also on my list: yoga, good sleep, and reading (see above)!