Jo Lyon


I’m Jo, I share unit 2.6 with my partner Miles and our co-housing neighbours, Liz and Caron.  Miles and I have been working here in the Mill since it re-opened, and it feels like part of our home. I’m a knowledge sharing specialist – it’s hard to say exactly what that means in practice (it can vary a lot!) but essentially I help organisations distil the transferable learning from what they do and package it up in different useful ways. I use a lot of different digital tools for this, and spend a lot of time on video calls, so I love B4RN! Until January this year I worked for Oxfam GB, mostly from here but with regular travel to Oxfam offices around the world. My post was made redundant as part of the fallout from the safeguarding crisis, which was a horrible experience all around. I’m still pretty angry about it, if I’m honest. *But* I got a new job quite fast, with a charity called Forum for the Future, who work on global sustainability challenges from a systems change perspective. It’s a great organisation, and a great time to be working in sustainability, these are the most important issues facing humanity and we need to bring everything we can into the mix. So I love my job, and also the flexible working policy that means I can do it from the Mill. I am the envy of many of my colleagues – though I do get to go to London for a few days each month for my big city fix. 

We asked Jo 5 ‘Just for Fun’ questions, here’s what she had to say……

What is the scariest film you have seen?

The Blair Witch Project. I foolishly watched it on my own at night on a little portable black and white TV. I didn’t sleep all night, I was terrified!

When you were a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I didn’t really know. I remember having a vague desire to work for the United Nations. I thought I’d love to speak a lot of languages and work in a humanitarian role, helping to achieve world peace. You know, the usual. But it turned out I wasn’t all that good at learning languages so that put an end to that. So I guess I was pretty vague about what I wanted to do, apart from wanting to go out into the world and make it a better place. 

Where is the most beautiful place you have ever been?

I studied at Trinity College Cambridge. It is so beautiful. I never got bored of it or took it for granted, and it was a constant reminder of how lucky I was to have the opportunity to be there. The dimensions and scale of the buildings were stunning – obviously it’s hugely elitist, but given that these places got built, I’m glad they’re still there, and being cared for, and that there’s a constant stream of people coming through them, growing up, learning stuff, living their lives. I often stayed up all night writing essays, and sometimes at dawn a group of us would walk around the college buildings. If we were feeling brave (because this was strictly forbidden) we’d take our shoes off and run around the formal lawns in bare feet, leaving footprints in the dew. 

If you could meet a fictional character, who would it be?

It would be VI Warshawski. She is a private eye from Chicago, and the heroine in a series of feminist detective books written by Sara Paretsky. She’s tough, clever, independent, and she can fight. I admire her but I am also a bit scared of her. I would love to sit down with VI one evening for a whiskey and find out how she cracks her cases..

Marmite – love it or hate it?

Love it! Especially on a buttery crumpet with thinly sliced cucumber.

If you would like to find out more about the Future for the Forum and the work they do, please visit: Twitter Instagram:

Next month we will meet Carole Ashby, artist in our shared Artist Space….