Alongside Bobby Heaney, Jo da Silva – MC also co-produces, co-directed and presented M-Net’s magazine program ‘SHOWBUZZ’ that highlighted theatre around South Africa.
The two created the sow out of a very real need to raise the profile of theatre in a new and exciting way. Book Jo through Conference Speakers
Jo’s interest in attracting new audiences for theatre was nurtured during her stint as publicist for The Alhambra Complex in JHB where, for almost two years, she supervised publicity concerning all three theatres housed within the complex.
This was no easy task, which culminated on Jo being the publicist on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS when it came to South Africa.
Jo’s undying interest led her to become involved in the production side of both film and television, most notably, being Celebrity Liaison and Head of Research on M-Net’s Jerry Springer’s Saturday Night and as Director’s Assistant for ‘Swansong for Charlie’ – a South African short film.
She also played Natasha Wallace on SABC 3’s multi-award winning soapie, ‘Isidingo’ for a few years before moving from playing the good woman to the bad woman on ‘7 de Laan’, as Gita McGregor. Follow Conference Speakers on Twitter
Jo has written for numerous publications, most notably a two year monthly column for ‘Living and Loving’ which was highlighted.
Jo’s experience of pregnancy and motherhood (with her tongue firmly in her cheek) has led her to extensive work in the arena of corporate and industrial theatre as a presenter, trainer, motivational speaker, MC, creative director and performer.
Her clients have included Barclays UK, Barloworld, First National Bank, Siemens, MTN, Sanlam, SAB, Liberty Life, Metropolitan Life and Cadbury’s.
The last few years have seen Jo da Silva moving more towards realising her passion for the youth.
Jo also has a Teacher’s diploma in Theatre in Education as well as an Honours degree in Drama and with all her combined experiences started being used as a highly successful key note and motivational speaker for school and corporate events with an uncanny knack for tailoring each speech to fit the occasion and the audience.
She can and has MC-ed the Superbowl at a moment’s notice and also had a handful of Sanlam execs tearful during a lunchtime chat about lessons in life in the middle of a training session.
Jo da Silva – MC
With an extensive career in TV, film and radio, Jo da Silva has received multiple nominations in both ‘Best Supporting’ and ‘Best Actress’ categories.
Jo is best remembered by her theatre audiences in some of Pieter Torien’s productions such as ‘Burning Blue’, ‘Love Julie’, the award-winning ‘My Fat Friend’ and ‘Maybe Baby It’s You’ – which she won the ‘Best Actress’ award from the Cape Vita’s.
So how did Jo start her professional speaking career?
“Friends and colleagues within the communities that I represent have nagged me silly for years … I was so often booked as a training facilitator or MC and inevitably, my personal stories became a part of that job description … it became a natural growth”
Speaking is just one of the many things that Jo does; she’s a “chief cook and a bottle washer most of the time” … Being a single mother comes first for Jo, then her full time job as an actress followed by serving her community of choice as well as writing, directing, creating … “as long as I am part of a creative process and part of a process of change, I am happy”.
Jo da Silva has been speaking for most of her life but has only recently been actively marketing herself – “I have been asked to speak at functions for years but always through a friend of a friend … I finally decided to get serious about it and join the 21st century!”
“I love seeing people’s faces as they ‘get it’ and I love hearing them laugh” says Jo. “As an actress, a performance happens in the dark … you hear your audience and there is a connection of energy but you don’t necessarily see them and you are busy pretending to be someone else”
“When you perform on camera, you don’t have the warmth of the immediate audience – when I do speaking engagements, I get to be me … it is my stories I am telling and not a fictitious character’s … to be able to help people; that’s incredible! …
We laugh a lot and sometimes cry a little … there is always a queue to speak to me afterwards and they are the people that I connect with the most. They inspire me and leave me feeling re-energised!”
Jo believes that she hasn’t changed since she has started speaking but her topics have definitely changed as she has grown and learned more about herself: “growing up isn’t for sissies” she says.
A ‘perfectionist workaholic’, Jo pushes herself “beyond limits far too often … I had to learn to find balance the hard way”. She is never satisfied with her work either; “I am convinced the talent police are around the corner … “
We asked Jo da Silva – MC why she believes that she has succeeded in a particular field where so many others have failed; “Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn and professional no matter what!” she says. “People forget that sometimes, manners and professionalism leaves a lasting memory …
I announced that I would be an actress at the age of 3 … I’m still here 40 years later, I guess that makes me stubborn and determined”
She also believes that the ‘formula to success’ is to “follow what you are passionate about and to commit to it with all your heart; success will find you …”
Some fun facts about Jo:
⦁ Jo’s celebrity crush : Martin Freeman
⦁ Jo is currently hooked on BBC’s Sherlock as well as The Blacklist and The Following – “brilliant performances and story writing all round” she says.
⦁ She has many hobbies but little time to pursue them: “I love working with my hands so any craft keeps me happy as I can’t sit still for long. I also love cooking – that must be the Portuguese part kicking in”
⦁ Jo’s hero is her grandmother who served in WW2 as a nurse in the front lines in Europe – “She came home with medals for bravery and nightmares for life but she never turned her back on anyone who needed help”.
⦁ The song that best describes Jo’s work ethic: ‘Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to work I go …”
Lastly, we asked Jo what advice she would give to anyone looking at joining the professional speakers’ circuit: “Only talk about what you know and what you care about”.
Fans can catch Jo playing ‘Gita’ (South Africa’s most ‘Hated Woman in the History of South African Television’) every weeknight from 18:27pm to 19:00pm on SABC 2.