Happy Anniversary to me!

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Written by Jo Cook on 3 April 2016

I didn’t realise until the “congratulations” messages started popping up in my LinkedIn notifications, that I had been running my own company for three years. At first I just dismissed it and carried on with the work that I was doing. Gradually more and more messages came through, which was lovely. Eventually it made me stop and reflect on three years with the title of Director.

If you had said all that time ago that I would be going strong, in so many different ways, and be part time Deputy Editor of TJ, I wouldn’t have believed you! Well… perhaps I would have liked to believe you, but I wouldn’t have imagined this to be my future.

Ringing the changes

I started working for myself after the end of a 12 month contract, which had followed a redundancy a year or so before. It was quite a traumatic time as I hadn’t experienced it before – looking back it opened up so many doors of opportunity.

I met Debbie Carter, then Director of Research at TJ and now Editor. We quickly became friends and I enjoyed ‘dusting off my journalism skills’ (as I wrote on Facebook at the time) in various writings for TJ.

Virtual classrooms

I also started teaching how to facilitate and design live online sessions and webinars. That has gone from such small seeds to such strength. It’s something that I consider a real specialism and that I love so, so much. I enjoy supporting people in their journey from “I’m a technical luddite and I can’t see how this can be anywhere near as good as face to face” through to “that was the most engaging online session I’ve ever attended and I want to learn more”. I’ve always loved that feeling, the coin drop, or the lightbulb moment – hence my Twitter name of LightbulbJo!

I’ve either been very lucky or worked very hard at doing things, such as the honour of working with Donald H Taylor on chairing conference sessions and webinar events. I’ve supported Stella Collins and Andy Lancaster with their Webinars Pocket Book and also contributed to Kassy LaBorie and Tom Stone’s Interact and Engage book about live online events. I’ve even been called a “role model” by the lovely Nicola Tyzack, which was such a generous surprise.

Always learning

More over, I’ve loved all the interactions and conversations with people where I’ve learned new things, such as training days, conferences and MOOCs and those nights in the pub! Helping other people in their learning, through answering tweets, Skype conversations or in something like the TJ Forum has also been very rewarding.


The success I have now is a bit of luck, we all need it. It’s also got a backdrop of various challenging personal circumstances that often dictate some of the paths we take. Mostly though, it’s loving what I do and working hard.

Here’s to the next three years!



About the author

Jo Cook is Deputy Editor of TJ and an independent L&D specialist focusing on blended programme design and live online virtual classrooms. She can be contacted through her blog at www.lightbulbmoment.info and via Twitter @LightbulbJo