Jo White is the Director and Head of Division of Questacon. She is an accomplished and experienced science and people leader with a broad mix of skills and background, and has a strong track record of achievement across science, strategy, conservation, and environmental management. For the last 10 years Jo has worked at a senior executive level leading science, and she has extensive public sector experience, with more than 25 years’ operating at a senior level. She is passionate about making a positive difference for future generations, and engaging children in STEM.
She grew up on a farm in country Victoria and after graduating from university, Jo was appointed as the first female scientific officer in the Ballarat Region with the then Victorian Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands.
After moving to Sydney in the mid-1990s, Jo joined the NSW Government and went on to hold a variety of science and conservation roles across the National Parks and Wildlife Service and later the Office of Environment and Heritage. She contributed to creating over a million hectares of new national parks and led cutting edge science in collaboration with CSIRO to understand the status of biodiversity in NSW.
Since 2018 she has been the Director of Science, Education and Conservation at the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. There she led the National Herbarium of NSW, the Australian PlantBank, and the Education and Engagement Centre, comprising a diverse team with over 100 staff, 400 volunteers and $330 million of collection assets. There she has overseen the establishment of the Education and Engagement Centre with as focus on STEM and First Nations knowledge. She led the digitisation of the herbarium collection and relocation of staff and the herbarium collection from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney to a new state of the art science facility at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan in Western Sydney.
Jo holds a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Biology, a Post Graduate Diploma of Business, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and NSW Government Leadership Academy. Jo is also the current Board Chair of the NSW Smart Sensing Network, a collaboration between universities, governments, and the commercial sector to lead the design, innovation, and commercialisation of sensing technologies across all sectors.
Jo is married to Stuart and has 2 adult sons, Angus and Jeremy, who both love science.
Read the media release.
Photo credit: NSW Smart Sensing Network