Joanna Barker read French at Durham University and graduated from Collingwood in 1981. She had a 35-year career in finance and investment, culminating in 20 years as a Managing Partner of Advent International, where she managed the fund for investments in Central & Eastern Europe.
She was made an MBE in 2014 and awarded honorary doctorates (D.Litt) by Durham in 2012 and by Oxford Brookes in 2022. She served on the Durham University Council from 2014-2023.
She is married to Graham Barker, who graduated in Law from Van Mildert in 1980.