Staff Spotlight: Jo Cruse



Jo Cruse is an entrepreneur and former teacher of A-Level Politics and Economics at one of the UK's leading schools. In 2017/7, she co-led a nine-month expedition from Alaska to Argentina to interview and share the stories of social entrepreneurs across the Americas.

Jo has worked with Oxford Scholastica Academy in a number of guises since 2015, including as a tutor for Business and Debating and as a tutor trainer. In addition to her involvement with the summer school, Jo is also co-founding a spin-off venture, a university and a career advice platform.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Waking up on the top of the Golden Ears summit in British Columbia and watching daybreak over the snow line. The hike to get there the day before was absolutely epic, but the phenomenal view was worth every step! It's one of the most precious memories I have of our nine-month journey across the Americas.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

OSA both inspires and challenges me. It's a huge privilege to work with a team that shares the same passion - enabling young people to achieve their best possible futures - and I find that enormously inspiring. The autonomy we have as a team has also challenged me to take ownership of ideas I'm really passionate about, and run with them.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are so many stories which stay with you. Some of the best stories for me are of the students who go through huge transformations just over the two weeks that they are with us - they leave more confident, more motivated, more excited about their futures.

I taught a wonderful student last summer who was a returning student and it was amazing to see what a crucial role the OSA experience had had in his personal growth and development.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

There are so many to choose from! The breadth of experiences OSA offers students is truly remarkable. If I was forced to choose, it would probably be Experience Medicine, as I would have loved to have been a doctor in another life, or Experience Creative Writing, because I've always loved words and would love to write a book one day!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

It's such a total joy to work with such a wonderful group of smart, passionate, dedicated people - who also have a brilliant sense of fun. The team really cares about the experience of every single student. The team you have can have a transformative impact on your experience of work, and I feel lucky daily to work with a group of people that I really respect, but also enjoy having fun with.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think a real commitment to your mission matters.

OSA was established to give students the chance to have the most memorable summer of their lives while also gaining clarity over their futures and motivation to really pursue the best future for them. OSA lives this mission in all that it does - our students really do have an extraordinary Oxford experience and benefit from access to the best courses and best people. It's an experience that really changes students' lives.

The fact that OSA truly delivers on what it promises, I think is crucial to its success.