Gwyn’s Interview With Carol
Carol Jones is a hard-working Black woman who, when faced with adversity, turns the situation into motivation to excel further. Her positive outlook on life and connection with her faith inspires her to live a pragmatic life.
Carol was born and raised in Lynwood, CA into a low-income family. Her hardworking mother and grandmother had a significant influence on her and her upbringing. These powerful women pushed her to excel in school. Carol was in the Honors Society in high school and then continued on to further education. She received her AA at Cerritos College. After several years, she went on to receive her BBA at Loyola Marymount University in 2010 and completed her MBA at Hope International University in 2017. She is currently managing business operations for the Dance Program at Loyola Marymount University.
Throughout her journey, Carol has met numerous role models who have greatly influenced her life. Each of these role models has pushed her to become the person she is today whether that be in her personal, spiritual, or professional life.
The Real Difference Boys and Girls in School
Carol Jones was greatly impacted by a program called Images while she was attending middle school. In this program, teachers would speak to girls of color in order to instill in them their beauty, worth, and capability for great achievement. This important program had a huge impact on Carol’s view of herself as a woman of color and what possibilities she would be able to achieve in her life.
When entering high school, Carol noticed a change in the way girls of color and all women were treated when compared to the boys. She attended a high school in Los Angeles that had a population of mainly Black, Latinx, or Asian students. Carol recounts the manner in which women in her high school were harassed or discriminated against.
“The guys were treated a little bit differently and I feel like that it’s always that “Boys will be boys” and they are going to do, just letting them kind of do their thing, you know. How they would hook up with girls, things that girl was viewed differently if they were dressed a certain way or do this a certain way. I think that that was at times when that could have changed or certain girls being seen as more promiscuous when there were guys that were doing the same thing, you know? I just think that that’s a double standard.”
Carol found that specifically women at her high school who were pregnant or thought to be more sexually active where harassed. She believes that this is an unjust, double standard placed on women but not on men. A solution to this, according to Carol, is to instill programs like Images for both boys and girls in elementary and middle schools. She finds that street and sexual harassment does not end in high school.
“You see that with the #MeToo movement and how as people become adults how that carries on into adulthood and into the workplace. That’s something that even leadership can help make an impact where both girls and guys need to know that wrong is wrong. We need to be treated equally as both female and male.”
Carol’s observations and experience are not alone. Women across the country experience street harassment starting from a very young age. In “Street Harassment Isn’t Just Annoying It’s Psychologically Damaging” Charlene Haparimwi recounts a “2008 study of college women found that street harassment significantly related to self-objectification, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and a harder time focusing in school” (Haparimwi 2016). This shows the impact that Carol’s experience in her high school can have on the lives of women and their futures.
To hear more about Images and her experience in high school listen here:
Being A Proud Black Woman In a White Man’s Field
Based on Carol’s experience growing up in a low-income family, she became very interested in financial planning. She saw her mother and grandmother struggle to make ends meet. Her mother had a hard childhood as one of 11 children in a low-income family. Carol’s grandmother worked hard to raise 11 children while still working as a full-time nurse. She is still a nurse to this day at 75 years old. Despite never being able to attend college, both Carol’s grandmother and mother encouraged her to get a degree.
Carol studied accounting at Cerritos College and eventually received her AA. After several years, she went on to receive her BBA at Loyola Marymount University in 2010 and completed her MBA at Hope International University in 2017. Throughout her many years in higher education, she found a lack of representation of people of color. In many classrooms, she has noticed that she was the only Black person in the room.
In the professional sector she has noticed not only an under representation, but also discrimination toward women of color.
“I wish there was more support of women of color and allowing them to be themselves and even LatinX women and women of all cultures to be able to be who they are and to be able to wear their hair the way that they culturally wear it and wear it naturally how it grows out of their head.”
“I have had experiences where you kind of feel like as a Black woman that your voice is not that valued. Or like you are not fully heard or like what you are saying is not credible enough compared to a White male or a White woman sometimes.”
Even though this disparity is present in the financial sector. Carol sees her position as a Black woman in the field as inspiring other women of color. She has found motivation in the lack of diversity throughout her schooling and professional experiences.
Carol’s experience feeling isolated as a Black woman in higher education is not uncommon. People of color are very largely under-represented. This stems from a broken system of racial discrimination in our school systems. Not only the amount of people of color is lacking in schools but also their representation in the course materials. In “The Racial Achievement Gap Segregated Neighborhoods” Richard Rothstein states that “Avoidance of racial history is pervasive and we are ensuring the persistence of that avoidance for subsequent generations” (Rothstein 231). Fixing representation of the Black community in higher education begins from elementary school. Black history needs to be accounted for in our history books and proper programs need to be in place to support Black students.
Carol has a strong support system and a will to push through adversity. She saw her mother and grandmother’s financial struggle and the financial struggle of others in her community and used it as motivation to educate herself and others. She is currently interning at Urban Wealth Management under René Nourse. René was on Carol’s vision board as a role model before even meeting or working for her. René manages over $115 million in assets and continuously appears on MSNBC (Closing Bell). This great connection and organization have allowed Carol to focus on her mission, bringing financial literacy to communities in need. She says about Urban Wealth Management and the many women of color who run the organization,
“Just seeing how they are inspiring and empowering women and their families to improve their lives financially and holistically has been amazing.”
To hear more about how Carol chose to attend college and later go into the financial sector listen here:
The Influence of Spirituality
Carol talks deeply about being Christian and how her faith has affected her life. Her family instilled in her the importance of faith from a young age. Faith has given her purpose to pursue her passions and the motivation to push through obstacles. She has also found amazing role models through her church. One of her most influential role models is Dr. Yolanda D. Dawson. While speaking as a mentor at the church, Dr. Dawson mentioned that she was an LMU Alum. This sparked the relationship between the two. Carol has said that Dr. Dawson has been a major role model as a woman of color.
“My grandmother would see her [Dr. Dawson] and she would say, “She looks very executive, I like her.”
“She kind of connected me with other women of color who are caliber too and just women in general who are just powerful women you know in business and spiritually in our lives. So that has been a great impact for me.”
Spirituality and being a strong female go hand in hand in Carol’s life. In Feminism Is For Everybody by bell hooks, she states “When feminist Christians began to offer new and creation-centered critiques and interpretations of the Bible, of Christian beliefs, however, women were able to reconcile their feminist politics and sustained commitment to Christian practice” (hooks 107). Carol shows that Christian practice and spirituality can inform feminism. Her faith has shown her the way to being a fully independent woman.
To hear more about how spirituality influences her life listen here:
My Point of View
Carol’s experience has truly touched my heart and inspired me to no end. Similar to Carol, I was born in a low-income family and was raised primarily by my mother. I, like Carol, was greatly inspired and motivated by my mother’s influence. My mom pushed me to receive higher education no matter what adversities came my way. Carol’s push to go to college in addition to receive her MBA inspires me to continue my education after my undergraduate. It also inspires me to feel proud of what I have achieved in my education so far.
Another similarity that I experienced is the treatment of women in school. Cat-calling and slut shaming ran rampant in my high school. I think that the program that Carol experienced in middle school (Images) is crucial to instilling confidence in young women. A similar program being instilled for young men would also be crucial in order to end the sexual harassment of women in schools and workplaces.
Time after time Carol spoke about being motivated by her set backs. Being one of the few women of color, whether it be in schooling or in the professional atmosphere, has pushed her to be a role model and inspiration to others. This mind set has motivated me to push through my struggles no matter how big that they seem. She also inspires me to visualize the life and future that I want. She had a vision of success from a very young age. This vision, in addition to years of hard work, put her to where she is today.
I would like to thank Carol for her dedication to the dance department and her inspirational words. She has inspired me as well as many other women. I would also like to thank her for sharing such intimate details that I know will go on to motivate many.
Carol’s Role Models
Grandmother: Idella Hollis
Mom: Shirley Jones
Intern Boss: CEO, Urban Wealth Management, René Nourse, www.urbanwm.com
Mentor: Dr. Yolanda D. Dawson, LMU Alum
To hear the entire interview listen here:
Haparimwi, Charlene. “Street Harassment Isn’t Just Annoying: It’s Psychologically Damaging.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Sept. 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/street-harassment-isnt-just-annoying-its-psychologically_b_57cf0248e4b0273330aae785.
Hooks, Bell. “Feminist Spirituality.” Feminism Is for Everybody, 2000.
Rothstein, Richard. “The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, and Segregated Neighborhoods.” Social Institutions: Education, McGraw Hill, 2014.