Joanna Maxwell

Joanna Maxwell

Joanna Maxwell is a keynote speaker and accredited coach and trainer who works with individuals and businesses to help them flourish. As the owner of Work In Colour, she uses the power of creative thinking to help clients advance their careers, find new possibilities, generate ideas and solve all kinds of problems in the workplace. (And enjoy themselves along the way…)!

Joanna has long been fascinated by the power of creative thinking and how to harness it to help individuals and businesses flourish. After recovering from her first career as a lawyer, Joanna decided to use the rigour and analytical skills she had learned as a lawyer in a more creative and unstructured environment. She discovered her ‘thing’, working with people who wanted to flourish at work, and after qualifying as a coach and trainer, she founded Work In Colour in 2002.!

As a freelance journalist for more than 20 years, Joanna now shares her insights on business innovation and creative thinking, as well as personal musings on how to work in colour on her blog. She has previously been a contributing writer for AFR Boss magazine and has written for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and The Bulletin.!


Hi, what’s your name?

Joanna Maxwell 

Where do you hail from?


Who do you work for?

I run my own business, career and creative thinking programs, small business training and writing of various sorts. 

Tell us a bit about you – how did you get to where you are today?

I am a recovered lawyer, and have long done freelance journalism on the side.  I started my company, Work in Colour, in 2002,  and these days do a mix of career change work, corporate creative thinking training, programs for over 50s workers – and a microbusiness training program for migrants in Lakemba. Eclectic mix, but that’s the joy of running your own show.

Outside of work, I’ve walked on fire and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and while I wouldn’t necessarily want to repeat either of those adventures, I am a keen traveller with journeys through the Middle East, India, Africa, Borneo, Burma and Tibet under my belt. (I am also hopelessly addicted to obscure sci‐fi shows like Jericho and Firefly…). 

What are your career highlights?

Leaving the law would have to rank highly. Also, publishing a couple of books (and one more near completion). Having a Bulletin cover story (clearly a while ago…). Realising I could run a presentation for over 200 people and not actually die of fright (in fact, learn to love it…). Helping people reinvent their working lives is the core of what I do, and watching them as they realise change is possible is a frequent highlight. 

Who or what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?

Sometimes it’s our ageing Labrador, who seems to think 6am is the perfect time for breakfast. Other than that, the chance to do what I love – help people reinvent their working lives – is seriously motivating.

Which other storytellers do you admire?

Anyone who can write with elegance but not self-indulgence – and tell a story that compels me to keep reading.

Journalists I enjoy include Paul McGeough, Chris Masters, Kerry O’Brien, Mark Dapin, Chloe Hooper, Helen Garner and Jack Marx (and many others…)

At the moment I am reading Haruki Murakami, George R.R. Martin, Thubten Chodron and Hugh Howey.

What do you plan to share at Storyology?

Ideas for ways that writers can use creative thinking to reinvent their working lives.

Where can we find you?

Website/blog: Work in Colour

Twitter: @workincolour

LinkedIn: Joanna Maxwell

Facebook:  Work in Colour