Meet Jo Sarah, Founder of Umaversity, the Company that Empowers Women through Education and Community

Hello Jo Sarah! We’re thrilled to be chatting with you today at FEM-START.  Could you share what inspired you to start your own business? And the motivation behind Umaversity

I have often felt invisible in the bedroom as a woman, burdened by sexual trauma and weighed down by shame surrounding my body and sexuality. During my travels for my music career, I spent 8-9 years interviewing women from diverse backgrounds. I discovered that almost every woman struggles with body and sexual wellness issues. The main cause is a lack of education about women’s bodies and a cultural ignorance of female sexuality. This ignorance breeds shame and isolation, leaving women unaware of available resources for their bodies and sexual health.

I knew something had to change -not just for myself, but for women and young girls globally. I went on a personal journey to learn and understand my own body better, and the transformation was revolutionary. I evolved from feeling clueless and ashamed to becoming passionate and proud. This powerful shift ignited a spark to share this newfound empowerment with others.

This journey led me to create a movement called Umaversity that provides safe spaces for women of all cultures and ages. Here, they can learn, share, and connect with each other and with over 100 experts in the field. Starting this business wasn’t without its challenges. In the beginning, there was nothing like Umaversity out there. I had no examples to follow and was tackling a taboo topic, which filled me with fear and doubt. But I knew I needed to do this. After our first event, the community grew so quickly that I needed to assemble a team. Thankfully, many passionate women believed in our mission and joined. The drive to break these chains of ignorance and shame was stronger.

Today, Umaversity is a beacon of empowerment, education, and connection. It’s more than a business; it’s a community. It’s a revolution in how women perceive and embrace their bodies and sexuality. And that is what drives me every single day.

What are some of the most essential things you did to get your business off the ground?

To get Umaversity off the ground, I started by making detailed plans for 1, 2, 5, and 10 years. This gave me a clear roadmap to follow. I leveraged my network extensively, recognizing that I couldn’t do this alone. Building a strong, dedicated team was crucial—I made sure to have experts in social media, content creation, and event coordination on board. Seeking guidance was also key, so I found multiple mentors to advise me on areas where I lacked experience. I immersed myself in learning, reading countless books, and watching YouTube videos to gather as much knowledge as possible. Always staying curious, being open to feedback, and remaining flexible helped me navigate the inevitable challenges. Despite the fear and doubt, these strategies fueled Umaversity’s rapid growth, turning a daring vision into a powerful movement.

How did you build your customer base and grow Umaversity?

We put a lot of effort into our Instagram presence, staying true to our values and beliefs, and sending out informative and educational newsletters every week. We created content that really connected with our growing community. 

We also collaborated with top brands like LELO and Funfactory, and worked with amazing organizations, communities, and venue partners. By co-hosting events with these partners, we were able to reach even more people. In addition, we launched an ambassador program, bringing on enthusiastic advocates to help spread our mission. This not only expanded our reach but also built a strong, empowered community.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?

I made a big mistake in the beginning by being too eager to accept every collaboration opportunity that came our way. I thought that more exposure would always be better, but I soon realized that we needed to be more selective. We have limited time, energy, and resources, and spreading ourselves too thin meant we couldn’t do justice to any of our projects. This experience taught me the importance of prioritizing quality over quantity and aligning collaborations with our core mission.

I also learned the importance of taking care of my own well-being. In my efforts to grow Umaversity, I often neglected my own health and ended up feeling stressed. Now, I make sure to allocate time for rest and self-care, recognizing that I can’t give my best if I’m not taking care of myself. These experiences have helped me become more strategic and mindful, allowing us to pivot and grow in a more sustainable way.

What is your biggest achievement since founding the company, and how did you get there?

One of my proudest accomplishments since establishing Umaversity is reaching nearly 10,000 women in just 1.5 years and connecting with over 100 mental, body, and sexual wellness experts who have supported these women. Everything we do is driven by love, aims to provide value, and is genuinely committed to empowering women. We have consistently evaluated our efforts, made necessary adjustments, and stayed true to our vision. As a leader, I hold myself to high standards and lead by example, fostering a culture of positivity and growth. Through our efforts, we have cultivated a thriving community that continues to flourish.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business? 

My advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with a diverse group of mentors who can guide you and provide insights into areas you’re unfamiliar with. Building a strong network is crucial; connections can open doors and offer invaluable support. Also, establish a positive routine for low moments. Personally, I have affirmations that I listen to when I’m feeling down, and they help lift my spirits and keep me focused. Don’t be afraid to take the leap -stay curious, be resilient, and believe in your vision. You have the strength and capability to turn your dreams into reality.

What’s next for you and your business? Anything we can expect in 2025?

I’m really excited about what’s next for Umaversity in 2025! We’re planning to launch Founding Memberships that will allow you to meet and connect with other members, an Online Expert Wellness Centre where you can book sessions with our 100+ experts, and the Umaversity Academy where you can access a wealth of knowledge and stories. Additionally, we will continue to host monthly online and offline events focusing on body and sexual wellness, providing opportunities for women to learn, share, and connect in vibrant and empowering spaces. These initiatives are set to transform how women approach their wellness journeys, creating a strong community of support and knowledge.


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