Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Meet Kelsey Jones!
Kelsey Jones is an IWL Board Member and a Senior Manager, Account Based Marketing for Salesforce. She is a fierce advocate for gender equality serving as President of the Indy Salesforce Women’s Network and as a proud #femINist. Kelsey reflected on her career, contributions, and motivations as a changemaker and how we all can Be the Change.
In 2014, I was laid off from my very first job out of college. I gave everything to that job, and in many ways, it defined who I was and where I wanted to go. That day my mind began to spiral into all the reasons why this happened to me.
Failure. Numbness. Devastation.
Every emotion you could think of, I felt it. The thought of telling my family and friends I was laid off from a job I was so proud of made me sick to my stomach. Had I let them down? What would they think? How would they look at me now?
I took one week to let it all sink in, leaned into the people who really knew me, and started searching for my next job.
Fast forward six years...getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. It changed me in more ways than I thought possible. It was just the beginning of shaping the next version of myself.
I knew failure wasn’t an option. A month later, I started my next journey working for a tech startup. I traveled across the US and world experiencing more than I knew existed after growing up in a small, rural southern Indiana town. Somewhere crossing the Atlantic Ocean on my first solo, international trip to London, I realized...I had to Be the Change I wanted to see in myself. I had to find and create the opportunities I needed to challenge and grow personally and professionally.
I was raised by two of the hardest working people I know: my parents. They taught me the importance of hard work and community. Last year my father was honored for his volunteer work and shared, “It’s an honor to volunteer, and it’s a duty to the communities you serve. Many opportunities are available; it’s just a matter of finding the opportunity that fits.”
In 2017, I had an opportunity to come back to Salesforce in product marketing. Equality is a core value at Salesforce and we believe that businesses can be powerful platforms for social change. That value sparked a fire within me and I became the Salesforce Women’s Network (SWN) President for our Indy offices. We have many opportunities to engage with our community, where I was introduced to IWL—finding the opportunity that fit.
When I joined the IWL board in 2019, a close friend said, “Kelsey, I love that you’re doing something about gender equality. I can see the fire in your eyes...but what makes IWL different?” I said, “You know how we have honest, authentic conversations with one another? We ask questions. We challenge each other. We make a list of the things we’re going to do about it, then we go do it. Well that’s IWL on a bigger scale.”
At IWL, we’re having honest, authentic conversations with our community of women (and even more importantly, men) through content, workshops, and conferences. We’re equipping our community with resources to be their own changemakers within their organizations and communities. Now through my work with SWN and IWL, I get to experience the power businesses, and their employees, have to impact change in their community through voice and action. And it’s just the beginning...
Then 2020 happened.
The world came to a screeching halt amid a global pandemic. We're on the verge of an economic crisis with social injustice and inequality staring us directly in the eyes. It’s uncertain. It’s incomprehensible. It’s heavy. As hard and grey as the last 150 days have been, I’m thankful. Why? Well, Michelle Obama said in her podcast, this year cannot be seen as a “pause” but rather, a “recalibration”.
Reflect. Recharge. Redefine.
We must redefine how we’re going to fight for gender equality, because if we don’t, we could face decades of recourse. Kim Graham Lee, IWL's CEO, said it best in her blog, “We cannot let COVID-19 become a further setback for women and progress towards gender equality. What is happening right now in this crisis and in its aftermath is the likelihood that women and gender equality will be set back further, and perhaps even decades, if we aren’t intentional about course-correcting.”
We cannot wait for the new normal. We must do better. We must Be the Change.