Jonny Stax (AKA Jonathan Stacks) is a social worker, artist, and entrepreneur who blends these unique approaches to help individuals and organizations find their unique place in this world and map a course forward that is authentic, sustainable, and has impact. His passion is blending entertainment and justice motivating people to create social change. Recent projects have included serving as interim executive director for About Face Theatre, expansion consultant for Chicago Children’s Theatre, co-founder of Creator’s Lab, and creative director for a campaign to dismantle internal barriers that providers face implementing routine HIV testing.
Jonny is a skilled facilitator who uses creative tools and processes to clarify vision and map pathways. This happens through executive coaching, project consulting, organizational planning, and campaign development. Jonny leads retreats for individuals and organizations to focus energies toward efficient use of resources to reach maximum impact. Finally, as an inspirational speaker, Jonny moves people to dismantle barriers that keep them from embracing their authentic fit in this world and living from that core.
Jonny Stax and his creative collaborator Scott Bradley are often hired to create entertainment for private parties, conferences, and events that benefit from a quality execution of an unconventional vision. Together, the duo comprise The Scooty and JoJo Show, known for their cult classic hits Alien Queen, Carpenters Halloween and Diva Brunch. Jonny also created and manages the carnival-themed entertainment BigTop JoJo.
Prior to entering the world of arts and entertainment, he led efforts at the national, state and local levels to improve sexual health education in schools and has numerous peer-reviewed publications from that work. He has served on various boards of directors in the Chicagoland area, including the Robert Crown Centers for Health Education and The Hypocrites. Jonny was raised in Lompoc, California, and received his Master of Social Work from University of Washington. During his studies he worked with the Center for Intergroup Dialogue, Education, and Action, exploring how social identity impacts our participation in society. This laid the groundwork for his passion and dedication to social justice. Growing up as the son of a Southern Baptist music minister laid the foundation for his passion in using performance to move people toward action.
"As a young non-profit organization, our group was bursting with energy and passion. What we needed was someone to guide us in creating a strategy to make the work feasible and fundable in the real world! Jonny quickly gained a deep understanding of our organization and its needs, and worked with us both one-on-one and as a group to implement a diverse and stable funding base that we rely on to this day. He also helped us grow to a new level of professionalism in our communications and programming. With Jonny's mentorship, we were able to build a solid foundation that continues to support our work three years later."
Debra Stulberg, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago
President and Training Director, Midwest Access Project