CEO Jo Jackson on a new era of D&AD

At the end of last year, Jo Jackson was announced as D&AD’s new CEO. Here she talks to CR about her plans and her thoughts on the creative industry right now

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s also a bit unbelievable,” Jo Jackson tells CR. “I trained in graphic design at Central Saint Martins and I’ve known I wanted to be in this world since I was 14. So to be in my early 40s now and I’m CEO of D&AD, the first female in an official capacity, is quite incredible.” 

After graduating from CSM in 2003, Jackson founded Beyond the Valley, a fashion label and concept store that helped launch over 300 designers into the art, fashion and design space, including Christopher Raeburn. “It was really a passion project after seeing all our fellow graduates coming out of university and then not being prepared for jobs and being left in the ether with no kind of support,” Jackson says. “Beyond the Valley was our very junior solution of helping a certain type of creative graduate, one who wanted to make and create products to sell.” 

Jo-Jackson CEO D&AD
All images and video: D&AD

Jackson spotted a gap between education and the creative jobs market and she sees parallels with this and the role she’s taken on now. “My key role, what I want to be doing with D&AD, is almost going back to the beginning, which is how do you help new creatives get into the industry? How can we make the industry truly reflective of what it should be at this current moment in time? And how do you help those who are less privileged be able to get into these amazing roles?” she asks. “There are so many different factors at play, so I think a lot of what I’m going to be focusing on in the first few years is really about how to help the next generation of creators. What do we need to do as experts in the industry to help the next generation to keep our creative industry alive?”