Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly business feature. Here, we speak to Jo Lavan, of Jo Fisher Hypnotherapy, about how the pandemic saw her turn her business life on its head.

An international business consultant reinvented herself when the global pandemic struck.

Jo Lavan had been running Huddersfield-based ConnectChina Ltd, an international business consultancy specialising in trade and investment in China, since 2004.

But when Covid-19 hit in January 2020 and China plunged into lockdown Jo’s work disappeared overnight.

Her European and UK work also stopped two months later as lockdown spread around the world and Jo was left looking for something new.

Away from work Jo had developed an interest in traditional Chinese medicine and her eldest daughter had her two boys using hypnobirthing.

That had triggered an interest in alternative medicines and in September 2019 Jo embarked on a hypnotherapy course in Leeds.

When her consultancy business dried up Jo decided to focus on qualifying as a hypnotherapist and in June 2020 launched Jo Fisher Hypnotherapy and has never looked back.

“I just love what I do and it’s a learning process every day,” said Jo, 63. “Before the pandemic I had been working 24/7 and was travelling to China almost every month.

“The last time I went to China in mid-December 2019 I came back with what I believe was Covid although no-one knew what Covid was at the time and it was never diagnosed.”

Jo found an interest in Chinese alternative medicine

Though her business stopped abruptly, Jo looks back and believes she needed the change of pace and a new direction in her life.

“Because I wasn’t travelling like I had been I was able to slow down, relax and study and while I was practising hypnotherapy to help others, I was helping myself as well,” she said.

Jo swapped an office in Huddersfield Media Centre for a calming therapy room in the same building.

Mum-of-two Jo, who also has four grandchildren, offers therapy for such as anxiety, stress, depression, phobia and binge-eating and drinking and has found that while people’s mental health deteriorated during the lockdowns, many have also struggled returning to ‘normal’ life again.

Jo’s practice is getting busier and as well as helping individuals Jo is looking to do more corporate sessions teaching calming techniques to groups of colleagues.

Jo Fisher Hypnotherapy – Fisher is Jo’s maiden name – is a real passion and where her future lies.

ConnectChina, which had four employees at one stage, continues to trade and still has an office in Shanghai but Jo said: “My focus is now on my new business and career.

“The pandemic gave most of us the chance to reflect on what we want to do with our lives and while many of us have made changes, for others post-lockdown is difficult because they don’t want to go back to where they were.”

For more go to