Johanna R. Jones is the newly appointed president and CEO of Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF). With over 20 years of experience in nonprofit executive leadership, fundraising, and workplace development, she is fully qualified to lead ITSMF into the future. Jones spoke with rolling out about ITSMF and its importance in the community.
For those who don’t know about ITSMF, why is it important? Why was it founded?
It’s an amazing organization with a powerful mission and purpose that’s even more important now in the climate that we’re in. We were actually founded 25 years ago by a handful of Black chief information officers. They were having a conversation over beverages and were looking at the data that said only 3% of its leaders in the United States at the time are Black.
They were people who had risen to the highest level in their field, chief information officers in Fortune 500 companies. They were tired of being the only ones in the room. Tired of — even with all the accolades and the pedigree and the paychecks — still feeling like every day they have to show up and prove themselves. They said enough is enough, we are going to start an organization whose purpose is to increase the number of African Americans and people of color in leadership in Fortune 500 companies.
The purpose is to diversify information technology, end stigma, reduce bias, and build Black wealth. [Building wealth] is a powerful part of ending bias, stigma, racism, [and] being able to perform and live free lives by having wealth and generational wealth. That is also a component of who we are and what we do.
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