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Washington, DC
United States

(575) 737-8602

Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

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About Me

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My work centers on convergence, the places where disparate currents flow together and form something new. At Barefoot Innovation Group, we're searching there for better solutions for financial consumers, at the confluence of technology, markets, demographics,  behaviors, cultures, and, crucially, regulation. Transformation is coming -- FinTech, RegTech, and "regulation innovation."

Here are some of the connections I've put together in my life.

  • I'm CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group, where I write, speak, convene, advise and think on technology and regulation, in the U.S. and globally.
  • I'm a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government's Center for Business & Government.
  • I'm writing a book on innovation and regulation.
  • I host the podcast show Barefoot Innovation.
  • I'm co-founder of Hummingbird Fintech, a new AML RegTech solution.
  • I'm an angel investor and an adviser to fintech startups.
  • Each year I make speeches to thousands of people throughout the world.
  • I'm a convener of roundtables and cross-pollination of ideas.
  • I served on the  CFPB's Consumer Advisory Board.
  • I serve on the boards of the Center For Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
  • I have authored several books and nearly 200 articles and am a frequent media source. I co-authored a major study on financial regulatory costs.
  • I have testified before Congress and federal officials.
  • I was the first woman Deputy Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). I led that agency's original consumer protection unit and later directed new media, Congressional and interagency relationships, including for the Comptroller's role on the board of the FDIC.
  • I served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
  • I was Co-Chair of the consulting firm Treliant Risk Advisers.
  • I was a Partner and Managing Director at KPMG Consulting, heading consumer financial regulatory and privacy advisory teams.
  • I'm a serial entrepreneur, starting several consulting and technology firms.
  • I was Director of Mortgage Finance for the National Association of Realtors.
  • I held research roles at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
  • I'm a volunteer leader in conservation, education and the arts.  I have chaired the global Trustee Council of the Nature Conservancy and founded its initiative on Trustees Without Borders; previously chaired the boards of trustees of the Ohio Nature Conservancy and Hiram College; and served on the Council of Board Chairs of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and the Board of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. I'm a national advisory board member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. I have been an International Visitor to the European Community and worked in distressed villages in rural India. 

My B.A. is from the University of Michigan and my graduate education was at The George Washington University in economics.

I love adventure and challenge. I've raised three amazing kids. I've fly-fished on five continents. I've searched for wolves in the Arctic. I've crisscrossed Alaska in small planes. I've been charged by an Alaska brown bear. I've been in a sinking boat in the dark in Chile. I've worked in leprosy colonies in India. I've run a marathon. I've started several businesses. I've written two novels -- my creative writing has won national recognition. I once spent four days and three nights on a mountain, solo, with no tent, fasting. I've faced 130 degree heat and minus 40 cold. I've lived in the inner city and been a crime victim multiple times.  My home is now on a mountain in the southwest with the wild creatures including, once, a thousand elk. I've traveled a mountain road alone under a full moon with a herd of wild horses. I am (for my age) a fearless early adopter of technology. I love artists and rebels and inventors and unconventional people. I've beaten polio and cancer. I know technology has saved my life.

It's an eclectic mix.  Convergences everywhere, filled with discovery.



Photo courtesy of Matthew Van Buskirk - www.mattvb.com