Ja-Neen Jones, MSOL
Director of Adoption & Foster Care Resources
Three Rivers Adoption Council (TRAC)
How many years have you been in your industry?
I have been with TRAC for 13 years however, I have over 25 years working with children and their families.
What has been my greatest inspiration?
Seeing children of color being connected to a forever family. African American children are hugely over-represented in the child welfare system. The work that goes into recruiting and training families of color is intense so when children are adopted and connected to a good home, it inspires me to keep moving and create new opportunities to make it happen!
What was the best thing that you have ever done that got you where you are today?
Taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone. I remember having a major fear of public speaking and avoided it as much as possible. However, I realized that in order for me to elevate to the next level, I had to step out of my norm to achieve the goals I had set. Now I coach and motivated others to do the same whether it’s my students at CCAC, my staff, or participants in trainings I facilitate on a state and national level.
What would you tell your younger self ?
“You have not arrived yet!” I remember graduating from Wilberforce University in 1991 and feeling that I had achieved everything needed to reachmy goals.While that was a huge accomplishment, that was just the beginning. You must consistently re-evaluate and assess your total self (mentally, physically, professionally, financially, and spiritually). There is always work to do and now I instill this message in my children and others… keep moving, don’t stay comfortable too long.
Who is your role models?
While there are several people that I admire and consider a role model (my mother, my grandmother, former teachers), Jacqueline Wilson at TRAC is my role model in this season of my life. Not only is she my role model, she is my mentor and friend. Jackie saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at that time. She created opportunities both intentionally and unintentionally to foster and develop me on a professional and personal level. Dr. Wilson motivated me to pursue my Master’s degree while she was working on her Ph.D. She created an environment that allowed me to succeed. Iron sharpens iron so it’s essential to connect with individuals that will inspire, influence and motivate you to act.
What is the biggest business mistake that you have ever made?
My biggest business mistake that I made in the past was not following up in a timely manner. When networking and recruiting, it’s essential to follow up with individuals as soon as possible to secure the deal. This mistake was a learning tool that I share with my staff and others today.