jo thompson, workshop leader

Everyone is, indeed, a writer. I just happened to make a living at it. Starting out as a copywriter at a New York City advertising agency more than 30 years ago, I eventually reached the role of Executive Creative Director. I've mentored and worked alongside teams of writers and art directors as we created print campaigns, websites, Facebook apps, radio and TV spots, and more. These days, I telecommute from Sedona, Arizona.

Directly after graduation, I headed to New York City with a BA in Journalism and worked for a few years in publishing before transitioning full time to advertising. In my former life as a journalist,  I was assistant editor of Smart Living, a now-defunct local lifestyle magazine in New York City, a freelance reporter for LAN Times, a Novell publication; and I've collaborated with other writers on two Movies on TV books published by Random House Publishing Group.

In advertising, I've worked with a variety of Fortune 100 clients, including UPS, USPS, SAP, IBM, T-Mobile, DuPont, Merck, and many other acronym-adjacent companies.


I've been a barmaid, a nursing home aide, a proofreader, an associate editor, a freelance tech reporter, a copywriter, content strategist, creative director, and executive creative director. That said, writing my own stories has been the most fulfilling act of all, which I started doing at an Amherst Writers & Artists workshop nearly 10 years ago. This method unlocked the literary writer in me and I fell in love with the entire process.


As an Amherst Writers & Artists Affiliate, I'm certified to lead workshops in the AWA method, as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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AWA BADGE with new logo Affiliate Jo Tho
"I trained to become a certified AWA workshop leader so that I could form a creative, and nurturing writing environment for people in the community. We are all of us writers. Let's make your words flow effortlessly onto the page."           — Jo Thompson
sedona inspires stories