By: Jim Chapman
From the moment she strode confidently onto the stage, Boys’ and Girls’ Staters alike were held transfixed by her vivacity, entertaining anecdotes, and powerful message of kindness and responsibility in leadership. Dr. Joanne Owens-Nauslar, affectionately known by her audiences as Dr. Jo, has been inspiring participants at both the Boys’ and Girls’ State programs for over two decades, and this year was no exception. Partly through her cheerful demeanor and audience engagement, the motivational powerhouse of a woman held her listeners spellbound for just under an hour as she passionately described the responsibilities that come with leadership. Central topics of her address included turning problems into opportunity (she herself was an unplanned pregnancy), thoughtful communication, enthusiasm for every task set before us, and, perhaps above all, kindness in our actions toward others. And as the assembled audience sent shock waves through Kimball Hall with a tremendous standing ovation at the conclusion of Dr. Jo’s address, it became sparklingly clear why Dr. Jo has become one of the most hallowed and highly anticipated of Boys’ State’s many traditions.