Jo Anne Gallant is the fun loving Mom of two teenagers, Cameron & Meadow, both of whom currently attend Grassfield High School. Her husband Ray is a United States Navy Veteran and they have been faithfully married for over 19 years.
This Chesapeake Mom may look familiar since a picture of Jo Anne with her “southern snow blower” went viral on the internet last year. After the kids missed several days of school from a winter storm, she took to the streets with her hair dryer in a humorous attempt to help the city clear the snow covered streets. Due to the overnight popularity of the picture 13 News Now furthered her internet fame with a short interview on the news.
Jo Anne is originally from the once small town of Grafton, MA, which has experienced an influx of development and similar growing pains to that of Chesapeake, including school overcrowding issues. Nearly a decade ago, she made a deliberate choice to choose Chesapeake as her home. When her family initially moved here, Jo Anne did not know one single person in the area. She was both grateful and humbled to be welcomed by our diverse military community. The rural aspect and small town feeling instantly made Chesapeake feel like home to her.
Since the moment her children started at Grassfield Elementary School years ago, Jo Anne has been an involved member of the community at a personal level. She has volunteered her time in classrooms, at field day events, on field trips, hosting field hockey parties, and is in general the “go to neighborhood Mom” bringing the kids to school when the bus is late. In addition to these everyday contributions, she also enjoyed the several years she spent volunteering her time coaching youth basketball in Chesapeake.
Jo Anne prides herself on her work ethic. She has had some type of job since she was 12 years old when she had a paper route and was also the neighborhood babysitter. It was a difficult decision to let go of her established corporate career as an account manager for Bose speaker company and become a stay at home Mom for a few years. One of the most challenging times in her life came when the recession resulted in downsizing at her husband’s company. Their family lost their only source of income along with their health insurance on her son’s second birthday, which was just weeks after the birth of their daughter. Although it was nearly fifteen years ago, she still remembers staring at a $770 monthly Cobra health insurance bill trying to calculate how many pediatrician visits her newborn daughter would need in the upcoming months.
Shortly thereafter Jo Anne began her evolving career in real estate starting as a leasing agent in Worcester, Massachusetts where she rented apartments to people from all over the world who were attracted to some of the top colleges in the area. She was quickly promoted into the property management realm and became a Certified Apartment Manger (CAM). She managed several government subsidized properties including a 215-unit low income housing tax credit property (LIHTC). This property consisted of 450 residents, 13 staff members and 15 buildings, including it’s own sewage plant and was operating on a negative budget during the oil crisis in New England.
One of her favorite jobs included working with the elderly when she managed an senior housing facility. Although, it had been recently built at the time, this particular property was unfortunately riddled with technical problems due to a low quality build. She learned a tremendous amount of mechanical knowledge as she proactively resolved major issue after major issue, including discovering that the underground water storage tank for the fire sprinkler system was, in fact, bone dry. This experience with subpar contractors has given her a true appreciation and respect for the quality of work from many of our local builders here in the Hampton Roads area.
Jo Anne currently holds multiple real estate licences. She is a licensed real estate appraiser in the state of Virginia. She is also a licensed real estate salesperson in both Virginia and North Carolina. She has quietly and slowly built her real estate practice up, not by having connections, but by doing a superior job in providing for her clients. One of her proudest accomplishments has been to personally restore one of the Outer Banks original A-frame houses in the Colington Harbour neighborhood of Kill Devil Hills that was close to being torn down.
As a Realtor, Jo Anne was a Bronze recipient of the Circle of Excellence award in 2015, and a Gold recipient in 2016 making her among the top 10% of real estate agents in Hampton Roads. She believes her perspective as an appraiser distinguishes her from other agents and gives her the ability to step back and assess the big picture of overall market conditions. Jo Anne is deeply concerned about the rapid pace of development in Chesapeake and the long range impact it will have on our community.
After actively advocating against several proposed developments that she perceived as detrimental to existing neighborhoods, Jo Anne was encouraged to use her industry expertise and run for Mayor. She hopes to encourage builders to incorporate more green building options into future developments. She is advocating for responsible growth in Chesapeake by evaluating the impact that past development has had on our community and proper planning for responsible growth in the future.
Chesapeake Mom Catches Attention on Social Media for “Snow Plan”