KNOXVILLE (WATE) - What would you do if you suddenly found yourself at the head of a 9,000 member national organization?
For Knoxville's Jo Terry, the answer was obvious. You follow your passion.
Jo Terry rarely slows down. Whether she's emailing from her kitchen computer with her cat Sherlock by her side, or being wife to her husband Bill, a Knoxville pediatrician. They've been married for 34 years.
She is also mother to three now-grown daughters and grandmother to two. Life has always been busy for Jo.
"She is loyal, she is hard working. She is passionate and dedicated to a number of things including her work for the Alliance," said Dr. Bill Terry.
The Alliance is an arm of the American Medical Association, made up of physicians' spouses. Jo became its president last month in Chicago.
The work of the AMA Alliance ranges from lobbying for good healthcare legislation to doing works in the community that are health-related.
"The first lobbying effort I was involved in was car seats for children," Jo said.
Jo's passion to serve began early in life. As a young woman, she was nurse. As a young mother, she became an active community volunteer.
It wasn't long before she focused on an issue that affects us all, domestic violence.
"I believe children deserve to grow up in a home where they're loved and valued," she said, "where adults in that home treat each other with kindness and show that same kindness and love to their children."
As executive director of the Community Coalition on Family Violence, Jo helped develop the "Hands Are Not for Hitting" campaign.
She worked hard to bring Knoxville a Family Justice Center. She now sits on its board.
In 2010 she was recognized by the YWCA's Tribute to Women, receiving the Human Service Award for her work.
"I think the influence of her children, we have three wonderful daughters, and I think she wants to be a positive role model for her daughters too," Bill said. "That's part of what drives her."
For the next year, Jo will use her drive to advocate for children and families. She hopes to leave a legacy for others to follow.
"I want to do my best and people will feel the passion and it will be contagious and someone else will pick up the banner," Jo said. "And for me, to train the upcoming generation through the Alliance and have them feel that somebody else help up the torch and that the torch was worth passing on."
"I think that would feel pretty good," she added with a smile.
Jo Terry, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a friend to all children. She encompasses the Spirit of East Tennessee