I will never forget hearing Jo Saxton speak at an event about body image. She had been convicted that it was time to change the narrative of negativity that she’d spoken out over her body and replace it with the truth. Jo told us how she stood in front of the mirror naked and said repeatedly, until it sunk in, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Her boldness and vulnerability in front of a few thousand people blew me away and led me to do the same.

Jo is a ground breaker, a strong and resilient woman. Born in London to parents who immigrated from Nigeria, Jo credits her family’s work ethic and the grace of God for her boldness, courage and tenacity and the approach she takes to sharing her wisdom on identity, influence, and living an authentic life.

An author, speaker, podcast host, and leadership coach, Jo has dedicated her career to growing leadership teams around the world and empowering women to find their purpose in their personal lives and in leadership.

In her new book “Ready to Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step into Your Influence”, Jo tackles the real life issues women face and to show how together we can grow our grit. While drawing from her own journey to leadership, Jo also adds stories of empowered women from the Bible. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Chris, and their two daughters.

Jo’s new book.

Hey Jo, what can you say to followers of Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls during this crisis, that will encourage and empower them?

“In times like this, where our whole work and social lives seem to have been thrust online, it can easy to succumb to the pressure that we must be our ‘best selves’ – now more than ever – and if we don’t, that somehow we are failing.

But I think it’s important that we ask ourselves, what your ‘best self’ actually is – because sometimes it looks a like perfectionism and societal standards of beauty with a spiritual cherry on top.

It also can ignore the realities of systemic privilege and power that actually play a determining role in how women live in the world.

Also, can I be really honest and say too often my best self… SUCKS? Too easily I miss the mark, fall short, or too easily find the past overwhelming me and defining me.

Or I’ll swing between legalism and license, or it shows up like vapid vanity or self- condemnation masked as humility.

I’m comforted by Paul discovering that God’s power comes into its own in our weakness, I’m comforted that we have a Redeemer who forgives, restores, redefines our purpose. I’ll lay down my best self in exchange for that.

And I’m not trying to be clever with word play, and I can live with it sounding cheesy or whatever. I just know that the best I’ve got to offer is a life that is being transformed and renewed by Jesus.”

In her previous book, More than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World, discusses the role of women in church and society. While her book, The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For helps readers address their past, accept their identity, and learn how to create a legacy they want.

Jane Kirby

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