Don Jones is a renowned retail executive and advisor with nearly five decades of experience and achievement in the fashion, consumer products, food service, management and entertainment industries.
Don also serves on the Board of Trustees at Felician University and the boards of several public and private companies, including the New York City Investment Fund and the Trinity High School Foundation. He is the recipient of the Massachusetts Black Achiever Award and the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association Retailer of the Year, among many other accolades.
By his own account, who is Don Jones?
I am the poster child for the American dream… creating a great life for myself, my lovely wife, and our five children.
Raised by a single mother, along with his seven siblings, Don’s Kentucky origins are humble. In 1969, at the age of thirteen, he began working as a janitor at Fischer’s Men’s Shoes in Louisville. From there, he rose through the ranks of retailers such as Macy’s, Marshall Fields, IKEA, GAP, and Target to serve in chief executive positions in nearly a dozen major retail organizations.
Between 1950 and 1963, my mother had eight children… I just decided, housing projects didn’t matter. Black, born into segregation, didn’t matter. And on and on and on. I made my way… It was my mother and my family, where we were there for each other, and how we set standards for each other.
Don applied these standards not only to his career in retail, but also as he transitioned from retail to finance. He noticed a pattern of private equity funds acquiring retail businesses. He also recognized that he was ‘driven to create, develop and create businesses.’
Changing The Landscape For Minorities
Don shares his success, with an ongoing commitment to others achieving the American dream. In 2009 he founded Verite Capital Partners to focus on assisting minorities, women and people of color in new business ventures. His own impact fund, the Verite Diversity Business Fund assists underserved communities, providing a platform for creating generational wealth. Don’s philosophy is simple:
There is a daily opportunity to coach, mentor, lead, manage, inspire, and motivate people in the underserved community. To assist them in gaining knowledge, resources, and capital for them to move forward in business. And, if you move forward in business, you move forward in life…
A Positive Outlook
Don credits his positive outlook above all to the influence of his mother.
She would always say there's really only one thing that you can control in your life, that's your attitude, and I choose to have not a good one, but a great one.
Don is a firm believer that every day has endless possibilities and opportunities in what he calls “the greatest country the world has ever seen.” If you ever need a reminder of this, you can rely on Don. “I am an evangelist of hope.”