Adversity Is a Leadership Superpower
A leader is forged through the trials and tribulations of life. And when faced with negative influences, instead of giving into personal doubt and insecurities, leaders demonstrate the qualities of resiliency, passion, and authenticity enabling them to overcome the challenges of life empowering them to reach their full potential.
THIS IS MY STORY OF HOW ADVERSITY BECAME MY LEADERSHIP SUPERPOWER- - CLAUDE JONES, ENGINEERING LEADER | PHILANTHROPIST | ENTREPRENEUR
My name is Claude Jones. I am an engineering leader, philanthropist, and entrepreneur who has had to overcome the struggles of abuse, racism, and biases. These negative influences ended up playing a foundational role in shaping and defining my personal leadership style and my passion to help others in need.
This is my story of how adversity became my leadership superpower.
The Beginning – Resiliency
I was born in Chicago, abandoned by my birth father at a young age, leaving my mother, who served in the U.S. Navy, to raise me on her own. Growing up as a child was difficult. I faced challenges from all aspects of my life. My stepfather was abusive both mentally and physically to me. I was told consistently I was stupid and would never amount to anything. The middle-class neighborhood I called home was not accepting to blacks. My life was a battlefield where I was always defending myself.
I was barely passing school, I had isolated myself from others, and I was on a downward spiral in life. I was becoming a product of my environment. It was not until 1990 when my 7th-grade guidance counselor, Mr. Baker, reached out to me and said, “Claude, I believe in you and I need you to believe in yourself”. It was the first time someone really looked at me for who I was and challenged me to be better than I thought I was. Mr.Baker became a mentor, coach, that provided an environment of love, trust, and support, allowing me to not only believe in who I was but allowed me to know if I put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything.
Finding my Purpose – Passion
The simple act of kindness, shown by Mr. Baker, taught me a lesson that has stuck with me to this day. People helping people will result in life-changing transformations. As I received blessings in life, I vowed to pay it forward, helping create opportunities for others to walk through their door of opportunity.
To exercise this passion, I created three avenues for myself to give back over the years:
The Philanthropist: I started the Elevate Foundation which is an organization focused on rebuilding communities, uplifting individuals, and inspiring others to do the came. As a way of paying it forward, we donate $20,000 a year of our own funds to charities and actively participate by volunteering our time, speaking, and mentorship to families and individuals in need.
The Motivator: I started The Practical Leadership Guy as a service providing motivational speaking, life coaching, and sharing my personal experiences of how best to overcome and deal with the challenges we face day to day.
The Change Agent: I am the founder of San Diego Tech Hub, an organization focused on building a sense of community where people are actively invested in their hometown by reaching out and creating connections, opportunties while helping others reach their full potential.
Being True to Myself – Authenticity
People ask me all the time why I do what I do. What benefit do I get from helping others? My answer is always the same. When I had no hope, someone loved me enough and breathed life in me again. That person had no clue of the impact he would have on my life and how he helped enabled me to reach my full potential. The action of providing people hope and seeing others succeed drives me to do more. My authenticity is founded from the experiences of my past and the resiliency and passion I found within myself has kept me humble and true to who I am.
Helping Others Unlock their Full Potential
There are so many people that are hopeless in this world and it takes Individuals that are willing to stand up and do something about it to make a difference. Each of us has the power to be a leader. How are you using adversity as your superpower to become a resilient, passionate, and authentic leader, creating opportunities for others and helping them reach their full potential?
San Diego Tech Hub (SDTH)