Turning personal tragedy into global impact

Organisational and visibility strategy

Joanne Matthews

Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance Founder

Joanne Matthews worked with Visibility Co to combine powerful storytelling and science to create new shifts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The Challenge

Joanne Matthews founded the Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance after she learnt first-hand how serious antimicrobial use and resistance is.

After two of her children had a terrible reaction to antibiotics prescribed for a life-threatening infection, Joanne turned to botanic natural medicines which alleviated their symptoms in a matter of months. Unfortunately, traditional natural medicines were not being incorporated into antimicrobial resistance globally.

With a background in public policy, as a former mayor and senior advisor to respective state government ministers in New South Wales, Joanne could see the economic and global health policy potential for building the evidence and educating practitioners, policy officials and the public, to support the use of traditional natural medicines in tackling superbugs.

Faced with a huge task and armed with lots of facts, Joanne felt overwhelmed. She was unsure about where to start and how to navigate her way through.

Joanne required a process that could crystallise her vision and develop a strategy for implementing that vision, and needed help to pull all the big ideas she had into something that could lead to meaningful change.

The Solution

Visibility Co’s intuitive, grounded and authentic approach to strategy appealed to Joanne, so she embarked on a 1:1 strategy, leadership and visibility advisory program with Julia and Sarah.

Joanne’s work with Visibility Co started with a two-day strategic retreat, where she spent two days articulating her vision, defining what she was trying to achieve and drafting a strategy for the formation of the Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance and Joanne as a thought leader. This was followed by a second retreat, with coaching and implementation support in between.

The Visibility Co methodology starts with Visibility to Self, which includes knowing and showing up for yourself and articulating your purpose, vision and values. Through her work with Visibility Co, Joanne quickly discovered she needed to approach her challenge differently. Rather than starting with the big issues and ideas, Joanne started with herself and what she felt called to do, which made her challenge energising and doable rather than heavy and exhausting.

The Result

Joanne felt enthusiastic about the challenge ahead of her, rather than overwhelmed. She felt clear about the pathway, including the gaps, risks and opportunities ahead of her. What seemed like heavy, hard work became energising and fun. The results flowed at a surprising pace.

Visibility Co helped Joanne find her voice, helping her build connections she never thought possible, and to visualise and implement real change. In November 2019 she attended a global antimicrobial summit in Washington, developing relationships with internationally-renowned antimicrobial (AMR) researchers, policy experts (including from the World Health Organisation) and influential philanthropic organisations.

Joanne came to recognise the unique story and skills she brought in bringing together historically divergent parties: western medical experts; natural medicine peak bodies; pharmaceutical companies; public health experts and AMR researchers among them.

Jo realised that her daughters’ story could communicate much more than a stack of facts alone, even to the most hard-headed scientists she encountered. Joanne was often reminded about the power of her story by Julia and Sarah throughout the process, and she was able to affect people and implement change by sharing it with others.

Joanne formed the Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance, an organisation that seeks to coordinate and lead international efforts against antimicrobial resistance with a focus on the contribution that can be made with natural medicine.

Through her work with Visibility Co, she has been able to quickly adapt and pivot when circumstances felt out of alignment. Being able to quickly identify areas of dissatisfaction has enabled Jo to pivot to authorship and thought leadership as a more authentic vehicle for retaining her voice and story in this space - which has been important in the face of a number of strident voices with differing views. She is currently working on a book targeted at global public health officials and industry players and is developing her thought leadership and content strategy, to support the publication and launch of her book and future work.

“Visibility Co are giving women access to their power through visibility.

They trust in people’s implicit vision and the power of that to transform. They have a really deeply held conviction that if you empower people to change the world, they can do it - you just have to teach them how to have and hold their voice.”

Joanne Matthews

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