Photographer, Explorer, Banff, Canada

Jody was behind many stories I heard over the years: paragliding and underwater photography, kite surfing photos in Micronesia and Papua New Guinea, photographing landscapes and locals, divers (water and air), National Geographic features, etc. When I met her, I was a bit nervous. Her photo stories include this and this. I've traveled "off the beaten path", but I was worried that I'd feel like a rookie chatting with a woman who, on assignment, shared a single room shack on stilts above the water with the sea gypsies, completing basic human functions with 24 eyeballs directed at her.

I wasn't disappointed and felt immediately at ease, chatting about our passions. I love that within the first hour I learned that Jody competes with her Nat Geo coworkers on who will get arrested first while on an assignment. During the second hour, I learned that she also, like other women/men and humans in general, grapples with what to do to make the world a better place and conduct meaningful work. We had a good chat, but I'll let you do more reading of her actual words. Next WOW woman is Jody MacDonald. 

1. Name. 

Jody MacDonald

2. Where is your hometown? 

Sun Valley, Idaho

3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation? 


4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey? 

When I started sailing around the world I started taking pictures full time. That was really the catalyst for my photography career. 

5. Biggest accomplishment since making the (physical/mental) move? 

Having the freedom to pick and choose the projects I want to work on.

6. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it? 

I really perceive failure as opportunity so I don’t really have any big disappointments. I really perceive everything as a challenge and learning opportunity so I think having that mindset prevents me from having any disappointments. 

7. Advice for other women? 

You can do anything, just focus on what you want to do and just start taking the steps. They should be small at first but as long as you keep working towards it, it will happen. 

8. Where in the world do you feel “tallest”? 

Probably in difficult locations and situations. Those are my favorite because I feel like I thrive in those situations. 

9. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why? 

Probably paragliding because it continually takes me out of my comfort zone. I’m always proud of embracing those moments. 

10. What is the future goal/challenge (career and/or life goals in 5-10 years)? 

I’m not much of a planner but I would like to just continue to work on my photography and get better at the craft while continuing to work on meaningful projects. 

11. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?

To get better at public speaking. That has always been a challenge for me that I’m working on. 

12. Anything you'd do differently (if you had another go at life)? 

Wow, that’s a tough question. I’m interested and curious about many things. I think if I had another go at life I would make sure I was proficient in a number of languages as well as play many musical instruments. 

13. What inspires you (and/or gives you hope)? 

People who really go after what they are passionate about inspires me immensely. Life is too short not to and the ones that figure that out deserve a lot of credit. If they are doing something that helps the greater good then that's even better. 

14. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?) 

I’m currently reading “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. Books I gift the most are Shantaram and Siddhartha. 

15. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)? 

A friend of mine recently quit her job because she didn’t like it and started a clothing company. Something she knew nothing about but just dove in and started it. In less than 2 years, it is already incredibly successful. That is incredibly inspiring to me. That she jumped into the deep end and is successful. It's definitely not an easy thing to do and not many have the courage to take that leap so that is incredibly inspiring to me. 

16. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)? 

My website is Instagram: @jodymacdonaldphoto
Facebook: @JodyMacDonaldPhotography