Meet our Featured Member, Kela Jones!
What is your favorite placement?
I need to pick two. Sorry! My favorite placements thus far would have to be the one I have served in the longest, League Photographer, as well as my other current placement, Innovative Teaching Grants Chair. I have enjoyed capturing the various events and members over the past four years. There is nothing like the feeling you receive when you deliver grants to teachers in the presence of their students.
Why did you get involved in the JLM?
I got involved with JLM due to a request by my former boss at Peer Power, Bill Sehnert. While I joined because I was voluntold by Bill, I have stayed and taken on various leadership roles because of the relationships and development opportunities I have been afforded through my service in the League.
What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?
As a member of JLM, I have learned to put in to the League as much as I want to get out and to be the change that I want to see.
What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?
Being in a meaningful placement is one of those things that can make or break your JLM experience. First, choose a placement that works well with your personal and professional schedule. If you don’t know the ins and outs or time commitment, find someone currently or previously in the placement and ask them about the time commitment. Second, choose a placement that does not reflect what you do at work daily. This allows for you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself in an area you may have been wanting to see growth or an area you least expected to ever see yourself. Lastly, choose a placement you can be or are passionate about. Being passionate about your placement will always make it that much easier to lend your time, talent and you will see that your level of commitment is unparalleled.
What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?
My favorite GMM speaker is by far Bill Courtney. Mr. Courtney’s speech was one that was uncomfortable for some and past due for others. Through his words, I recognized that you can’t truly effect change if you are not truly serving and are living within a vacuum. In serving, you have to do more than just show up and give your time, talent and treasure. You actually have to engage, connect, learn, empathize, be consistent and be cognizant of all of those you are serving and serving alongside. If you are giving your time, talent and treasure to organizations and the people they serve, get to know those people, at the very least learn their names and the names of staff. If you can’t do this small thing, you are simply existing and not truly serving. Being truly involved in an organization, in a volunteer capacity, means taking the time to get the know the people in the organization and served by the organization who do not live or did not grow up in the same zip code, are not in the same income bracket and who do not look like you. Ultimately, it means serving at the most human and humane level.
What is your occupation?
I am the director of development for CodeCrew. CodeCrew trains and empowers underrepresented communities to be tech innovators and leaders through practical, hands-on computer science training.
Who has inspired you in your career/field?
My inspiration in my career comes from the young people I have had the honor to serve, raise funds for and work alongside. Their stories make going to work daily easy. They are my why.
What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?
I love food so it is hard to pick one! Sorry, again! Cozy Corner, Pho 64, Osaka, and Gus’s in no particular order.
Who’s your favorite sports team?
What is your favorite quote?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is the last book you read and would recommend?
Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience as a member of Junior League?
I would like to thank Jennifer Taylor for her unwavering support and belief in me. Her act of kindness will forever be ingrained in my heart.