Jo Willis

Jo Willis is an adopted person and a specialist in the field of adoption counselling, coaching and education. She is viewed as a leader in personal development within the adoption field. As an adolescent, she lobbied local and national politicians for amendments to be made to the 1955 Adoption Act. At the age of 21 she was reunited with her birth family prior to the change in legislation. Jo then became part of the implementation of the 1985 Adult Adoption Information Act, leading to a 24-year career as a social worker, senior practitioner and supervisor.

Jo has worked in all facets of adoption and adult-adoption information social work practice in New Zealand. She has also worked as a senior advisor in organisational development for the Ministry of Social Development, and consults to the ministry as a leadership consultant, as well as coaching participants on the Massey University (NZ) MA Advanced Leadership and EMBA programmes. She holds an MA in Coaching and Mentoring Practice (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK), a Diploma in Counselling, and is an accredited member of the International Coaching Federation and NZ Positive Psychology Association.

Jo is a leadership and personal development coach who also works with adopted adults to support them to understand and integrate their adoptive experience. Through counselling, coaching and mentoring, she helps those who feel confined by, or languishing in, adoption-related patterns to grow and flourish. Jo offers adopted people a personalised process along with evidence-based tools and resources to enhance the connection and belonging within themselves, leading to more ease in their relationships and life. She also coaches adopted leaders to increase their leadership impact and educates professionals about the impact of adoption on adopted people.

Jo lives in Napier with her husband Lawrie. Their son, Will, lives in Australia with his wife, Jasmine, and their children, Jack and Evie. Their daughter, Hollie, her husband, Cameron, and their son Hugo, live in Napier. Jo’s family and her work are her deepest fulfilment. Being a lifelong learner, she continues to grow and develop personally and spiritually. Regular yoga, walking and cycling enhance her wellbeing and her love of travel; watching movies, dancing, listening to podcasts and music keep her spirit young. For further information see: