who-we-are-img

Jo Ann Barefoot

Founder & CEO

Jo Ann Barefoot is CEO & Founder of AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Cofounder of Hummingbird Regtech, and host of the podcast show Barefoot Innovation. A noted advocate of “regulation innovation,” Jo Ann is Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government. She has been Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, partner at KPMG, Co-Chairman of Treliant Risk Advisors, and staff member at the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. She’s an angel investor, serves on the board of Oportun, serves on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is a member of the Milken Institute U.S. FinTech Advisory Committee, and is a member of the California Blockchain Working Group Advisory Board. Jo Ann chairs the board of directors of FinRegLab, previously chaired the board of the Financial Health Network, and previously served on the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board. My work centers on convergence, the places where disparate currents flow together and form something new. At Barefoot Innovation Group, we are finding better solutions for financial consumers at the confluence of technology, markets, demographics, cultures, science, the arts, global poverty reduction, and, crucially, regulation. As part of this search we discovered the need for my new nonprofit, AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation. Transformation is coming — Fintech, Regtech, and “regulation innovation.” Here are some of the connections I’ve put together in my life. I am:

  • CEO and Cofounder of AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation
  • CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group
  • Senior Fellow Emerita at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of
  • Government’s Center for Business & Government.
  • Publishing a Harvard Kennedy School M-RCBG Associate Working Paper series on regulation innovation and working on a book on it as well
  • Host of the global podcast show Barefoot Innovation.
  • Co-founder of Hummingbird Regtech, designing software to fight financial crime.
  • A global public speaker, reaching thousands of people throughout the world each year including with my speech, Never Fear.
  • Board member at Oportun.
  • Chair of the board of FinRegLab.
  • An angel investor and an adviser to fintech startups.
  • A convener of roundtables and cross-pollination of ideas.
  • An original member of the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board.
  • Former chair of the board of the Financial Health Network.
  • Board member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
  • Member of the Milken Institute FinTech Advisory Committee.
  • Member of the fintech committee of FINRA
  • Member of the California Blockchain Working Group Advisory Board.
  • Author of several books and nearly 200 articles and contributor to Forbes.
  • Author of major white papers, including the Regtech Manifesto.
  • Media source, frequent podcast guest, and expert witness at hearings of Congress and federal agencies.
  • The first woman to serve as Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, where I led the OCC’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.
  • Former Staff Member at the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
  • Former Co-Chair of the consulting firm Treliant Risk Advisers.
  • Former Partner and Managing Director at KPMG, heading consumer financial regulatory and privacy advisory teams.
  • A serial entrepreneur, starting several consulting and technology firms.
  • Former Director of Mortgage Finance for the National Association of Realtors, and researcher at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
  • Volunteer leader in conservation, education, women’s opportunity 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; served on the Council of Board Chairs of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and serve on 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.
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 on a lake in Chile. I’ve worked in leprosy villages 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. Current non-profit affiliations: Center for Financial Services Innovation The Nature Conservancy Hiram College