There’s no doubt that Kristin Jones is blazing a trail for women everywhere and has been for the last eight plus years. Not familiar with Ms. Jones? She spent seven and a half years working alongside former First Lady Michelle Obama as special assistant and director of special projects. Over the course of her tenure at the White House, her projects and responsibilities ranged from planning international travel and domestic events in service of the First Lady's priorities and cultural vision, to developing creative content and campaigns for Michelle Obama's signature initiatives: Let's Move!; Joining Forces; Reach Higher; and Let Girls Learn. In this capacity, she has developed an expertise in identifying how the intersections of branding, policy, and creative strategy can be used as a means to create cultural shifts in society.
Ms. Jones is an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated as valedictorian and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies. She received her Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University while teaching high school English in South Los Angeles as a member of Teach for America. She currently co-owns a strategic branding agency, Inside Projects, is working on new market strategy at The Wing and we’re incredibly excited to have her as a member of the Color Vision Advisory Board. Read more about Kristin below:
When you were an undergrad student at University of California, Berkeley did you know exactly what you wanted to do ? No actually. Ever since I was a little kid I would say “I want to change the world.” Part of me thinks I was just coming up with something to say, but on the other hand I think I may have had this intuition to know that I was going to be a part of something big one day. During my freshman year I wanted to be an architect, but I took this class and discovered that I couldn’t draw, so I changed my mind. My graduate assistant teacher was like you can’t even draw a straight line (lol), it wasn’t for me. Then I was going to go to business school and I actually ended up with a double major in Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies. I said to myself “stop worrying about your career and if you’re paying all this money learn about what intellectually stimulates you.” I knew everything else would work out.
What about life has surprised you the most since undergrad? How unavoidable disappointment is and how paralyzing it can be. No matter how smart or optimistic of a human you are, disappointment can surprise you. I’m also shocked at how resilient I am. I’m just now learning that and recognizing that in myself. On my tough and most disappointing days, I try to remember my resilience and find some inspiration in that piece of myself.
Who inspires you the most ? My mom for sure. My mom is this woman from South Central L.A. and she never knew how to swim. She used to take my brother and I to the beach all the time and my brother and I used to swim a bit far out often. I get it now, the type of strength that it must take to let your kids be in the deep end, knowing you can’t instantly save them, but trusting that they’ll be OK. She didn’t keep us in a small world growing up or limit our possibilities. I think about childhood lessons like that and it makes me emotional knowing how strong of a woman she is. I get my courage from her and I believe it’s the single characteristic that has set me apart in my career.
What has been your proudest accomplishment career wise? I would for sure say pivoting out of a position the moment I realized the opportunity for my growth was slim in the realm of what I wanted to be doing. Surviving 2018, starting my own company, and now being in this position at The Wing, a company who really stands for women
Why do you think it's important that women always empower other women? If we’re not doing it none of us are being our best selves. I believe that if women are not empowering each other we’re playing it too small. If you aren’t feeling compelled to empower another woman it’s likely because you are not holding yourself in high enough regard, you are not holding your own potential to influence others positively in high enough regard.