Monica Jones: Motivated by Her Desire to Make an Impact
Monica Jones is motivated by her desire to help others. In fact, it was what led her to start her own company, the Born Identity Project, and what motivated her to spearhead the #HashtagLunchBag chapter in Houston.
Her love for making an impact inspires her to keep moving forward despite whatever opposition she may face. She encourages any woman contemplating starting a business to be passionate, to do your research and to never stop reaching your goals.
Check out our interview with Monica below to learn more about her journey through life, thus far.
How was your childhood?
My childhood was eventful. My mother was definitely someone who was supportive of everything that I wanted to do, whether it was learning ballet, playing in the band, or picking up a violin the next day. Everything I wanted to do growing up my mom pretty much supported me doing. Early on, I knew I wanted to do something in the creative, artsy or entertainment field. I was always involved in music, dance and art.
I have one brother and it’s just mainly been my mother – my father lived separately from us. Growing up, I lived in a couple different cities. I lived in Miami, Nashville, and New Orleans. I made my way back to Houston in between middle and high school. I had a loving family, very supportive. I pretty much drove my mom crazy every month or year, coming up with a new hobby or craft that I wanted to do.
Have you struggled with any insecurities? If so, how did you overcome them or how are you currently dealing with them?
I think as women, we all have insecurities – of course, some more than others. For me, one of my biggest insecurities was struggling with the question, “Am I enough?” Was I smart enough? Was I pretty enough? Creative enough? And, sometimes I still go through these things. The ways I combat that is by just praying first, believing in the talents and skills that God blessed me with and doing the work. I know that I doubt myself sometimes, but when I put my mind to things and really plan and set out to get it accomplished it normally turns out amazing. So I would say praying and believing in me.
You are the founder of Born Identity Project. What is the Born Identity Project and what inspired you to start it?
The Born Identity Project is what I’d like to call a social change event planning firm. We help non-profits with fundraising and programming. We also work with corporations to help build and create employee and charitable-giving programs. We work mainly with smaller non-profit organizations. I’ve worked with and facilitated events for some of the larger organizations, such as all the American & Associations of, and at some point I just kind of wanted to see the impact of my hard work & my ideas. And not just my ideas, but the support of people who believed in my vision to help other people. So I redirected what I was doing prior to the Born Identity Project. I just really wanted to focus on the organizations that are really worthy of cause and effort. I wanted to help them because they are the ones that don’t get that much attention, awareness, or funding.
I host a large amount of events, and one in particular is our signature event which is called Social Change Sunday’s. I host that quarterly, at this event I raise funds or collect in-kind donations for a specific nonprofit organization. I like to say the Born Identity Project is the intersection where people’s needs and joy meet, because we meet the needs of these nonprofit organizations and it truly brings us joy to be able to help them on a continuous basis.
What led you to get involved in the #HashtagLunchbag movement?
A friend. I have a friend named Jade, she mentioned it to me once before and it seemed like I kept missing the opportunity to actually volunteer, which is something I love to do. I missed it for the third time and, at that time, certain people were just picking it up and hosting it at a club. And when I missed it the last time, I reached out to my friend and was like, “Hey, this can’t happen again, I don’t want to not be involved in this event. What do you think about us actually taking over the chapter and doing it on a reoccurring basis and not just as a one-off thing?” She thought I was crazy, she was like, “What are you talking about?” And literally, about a month or two later, we were getting ready to host our first one in August of 2014. I love the mission. I’m all about giving back so their mission aligns already with my purpose. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve gravitated towards them and why I’ve really pushed #HashtagLunchbag so far. It really utilizes social media to push a mission across thousands, well hundreds of thousands of people now that we’re in over 130 cities. As someone who’s used my platform for good, it aligns with my mission; I love #HashtagLunchbag.
How do you balance your time between the various projects you are working on and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I stay organized and task things out. As a person who has so many ideas in my head, if they don’t come from out of there I’ll never get them done, so I have to stop and take that old-fashioned method of literally writing things down. I do a daily tasks list and a weekly tasks list. I’m constantly keeping up with everything that I want to do and create in a timely fashion, and I make sure that I’m crossing these things off as I get them done. So, that’s one of my best methods – staying organized & tasking.
When I’m not working, I love to volunteer. I love eating and dining in new restaurants. I like to visit art museums and I love to travel.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to start their own business? Are there any particular lessons you personally learned that you would like to share?
My advice for young women – and really any women – starting a business is to make sure your passionate about what you want to start or get involved in. Secondly, do your research. I tell everyone this – man or woman – because once you do your research it’ll help you figure out if it’s really for you. Some people look on the outside of what everyone else is doing and they get so caught up in it that they think it’s for them, and that may not be the truth. So I just say, do your research and make sure that your passionate about what you want to get involved in or venture into.
Despite what anyone says, family or friends, what’s for you is always going to be for you. I’ve been up against a lot of hindrances throughout the way and even up until this point of my journey because it’s still being created. I’ve had a lot of resistance from family and friends who told me I should stop doing what I’m doing. But, you have to keep going. Never give up, you have to stay passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish. Make sure that you’re in the business of being legendary, everyone should strive to do their work at an excellence. Last thing I would probably say is my favorite quote, “No handouts just hard work.” Whatever you do, work hard.
What's in store for Monica Jones, what can we expect from you in the future?
The next thing I’m wanting to do is write a book. I want to write an e-book before the year is over. It’s going to be something that I can market to nonprofits, in addition to my services as the Born Identity Project. I want them to be able to have something tangible to take with them to generate and create ideas for fundraising. It’s going to be a book about fundraising tips, that’s something I love to do. I also want to, hopefully, help start another chapter in Texas for #HashtagLunchbag.
I just want to be more of an inspiration to people, more helpful to friends and family and my business peers around me. I have a lot of people that always come to me for advice and I just want to continue being that person that they can come to; I want to continue being supportive and someone that people can count on.
Well we already think you are an inspiration, Monica! To learn more about Monica, follow her on Instagram, @bornceo and check out bornidentityproject.org. To be featured, contact us.