Meet LaToia Jones, the vice president of public affairs at Hustle, the leading peer-to-peer texting platform. Jones is an experienced national special security event management professional who is distinguished for bringing together cross-functional team members and external partners in a collaborative spirit, to drive innovation and growth for high-visibility projects and high-impact national organizations.
We caught up with Jones to discuss the qualities she needed to excel in her career.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
My superpower is joy! I have this uncanny ability to make people happy and bring smiles to their face even when I’m not trying. Years ago I realized happiness and joy were a choice. So from that point on, I started focusing on being happy no matter the circumstances. Don’t get me wrong I have bad days — who doesn’t? — but I don’t let those days dictate my life. I read once that joy magnifies and magnetizes so as long as I focus on being joyful and happy with myself that glow allows others to be happy and to find their joy.
What key skill sets or qualities makes you unique as a Black female leader?
I have a unique skill set in being able to take the worst of the lot, the last, the scraps and make it a 100-million-dollar idea, dinner, campaign. My grandmother would tell me I was born to be a chef but not in the kitchen. I didn’t realize what she meant until much later but now I understand.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
“The worst they can say is no.” So ask the question and remember no one has the power to stop you except you. When I was younger I was always afraid of the word “no” so I just never asked the questions, never went for the hard ask. I’ve closed more doors on myself by being afraid of “no” than anyone else has closed on me. I now realized chasing my dreams was more about what I was willing to work for, sacrifice for and ask for. Now “no” no longer stops me, it motivates me.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
Ella Baker. She was the quiet storm behind the Civil Rights Movement. So many of us know the names and faces of the people she mentored yet don’t know her. She was about the work, not the glory. She once said, “You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition?
There is a saying that “iron sharpens iron” collaborating on projects with amazing people only makes me smarter, bolder and better. Having a partner who listens and explains their thought process in a clear and concise way is indispensable to me.
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
Just do it. But if you fail; make sure to fail fast. Don’t spend time worrying about the fall; just pick yourself up and try again.
What are the three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, peace of mind, etc.?
Every morning I read a Bible Scripture, sing, and dance to my theme song (if you don’t have a theme song get one fast) and I tell myself that I’m going to win the day.
As a successful woman in business, what is your greatest or proudest achievement?
The number of successful women I have mentored who have gone on to be successful in their respective careers. Watching them now build their own tribe of successful mentees brings me pure happiness.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My tribe. The people I have around me are some of the smartest people I know. They educate children, plan movement marches, fight the fight when others have packed up and left. Some of you will never know their names but they are moving and working for the culture. They motivate me to be better, work harder, do more. I love my tribe.
If you could have any person in the world become your mentor, who would it be and why?
Gayle King. There is a quiet power about her that moves me. Being the best friend to the world’s best friend has to come with some challenges but Gayle takes it all in stride while maintaining an amazing empire herself.