Jo Roberts is Chief Executive of the Wilderness Foundation (https://wildernessfoundation.org.uk). She has served as its CEO since 2004. The Foundation works to transform the lives of young people from challenged and challenging backgrounds through wilderness experiences and thereby to demonstrate the value of wilderness. Jo and the Foundation run workshops, mentoring and expeditions at their base in Essex, in Scotland and in South Africa. Disclaimer: since I recorded this conversation with Jo I’ve become one of the Trustees of the Foundation.
Jo grew up in South Africa and trained there as an anthropologist during the period of apartheid. We discuss her upbringing and her early love of wildlife and the outdoors. We talk about the skills she has developed through her experiences in the wilderness. And we talk about some of the questions and techniques she uses to support and challenge the young people she works with, in order to help to change or even radically transform their life paths. Jo is one of the most thoughtful and inspiring people I’ve had the chance to work with (and we have had the chance to work together on a number of projects over the past couple of years) and I’m looking forward to doing more with her and the Foundation in the years to come. I’m hoping, next year, to volunteer to help on one of the expeditions and combine my love of camping and Scotland with helping some of the young people and getting to know the organisation better.