joannwebsitepicJo-Ann Mort, the founder and CEO, has a diverse strategic  communications background in philanthropy, the Jewish community, electoral and progressive politics and elsewhere. She founded ChangeCommunications  in 2007. In addition to her work with ChangeCommunications, Jo-Ann serves in a part-time position as special advisor to the president of the Union for Reform Judaism where her portfolio includes work related to communications, policy and donor engagement.

Among ChangeCommunications clients are, or have been, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Federation of Teachers, Tel-Hai College in Israel, Appleseeds Academy, Rawabi, the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the Wohl Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation and more.

Jo-Ann was the director of communications for the Jewish Funders Network and created and directed the Communications Department for the U.S. Programs of the Open Society Institute, now the Open Society Foundations of the Soros foundations network, where she oversaw the communications and public education work and assisted grantees in their communications work.

In addition to her work with clients for ChangeCommunications, Jo-Ann is special advisor to the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, with whom she has worked on behalf of the Reform Movement in North America and Israel for several years.

For 13 years, she was director of communications for Unite and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, the predecessor unions to Workers United, an affiliate of SEIU. As associate director of communications for the American Jewish Congress in the early 1980s, she was also the founding director of the Women’s Commission, working with prominent feminist leaders in the U.S. and Israel to promote global women’s rights.

Jo-Ann was the director of the Democratic Agenda project, which promoted a progressive social and economic agenda inside the Democratic Party and was chaired by noted social activists Michael Harrington (author of The Other America) and Ann Lewis. Her background also includes press secretary for Carl McCall’s campaign for New York State Lt. Governor, and senior staffer for two members of the New York State Assembly. She also worked in communications and publicity for Sarah Lawrence College and Farrar, Straus & Giroux publishers.

As a freelance journalist, Jo-Ann brings a particularly acute lens to work with journalists and editors. She is especially known for her writing and analysis about Israeli domestic life and Palestinians, and has reported from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the Chicago Tribune, the Forward newspaper, The American Prospect, the LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, JTA, Foreign Policy magazine and more. A frequent contributor to national newspapers and magazines in the U.S., U.K. and Israel, Jo-Ann was also a regular contributor to tpmcafe.com, one of the most trafficked and well-regarded political blog sites on the web. She is a member of the editorial board of Dissent magazine.

The co-author of Our Hearts Invented a Place: Can Kibbutzim Survive in Today’s Israel? (Cornell University Press) and editor of Not Your Father’s Union Movement: Inside the New AFL-CIO (Verso) and a contributor to numerous publications and anthologies, she has spoken widely at universities and in public forums in the U.S., Israel and Europe, for the Israel Women’s Network, the Socialist Group of the European Parliament, the Central European University Jewish Studies’ program, and more.

A resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, Jo-Ann is a member of the board of Americans for Peace Now and a member of the committee on Israeli economic development of the Jewish Peoplehood Commission of UJA Federation of New York. She is also an advisor to the Sarah Lawrence College Hillel. She is a former trustee of Congregation Beth Elohim and remains active in the congregation.

She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied poetry writing, literature and philosophy.