Pedestal Professionals is a weekly spotlight series on our blog that highlights Black women entrepreneurs who are forging new paths in their respective fields.
Meet this week’s Pedestal Professional (and one of our faves), Sheoyki A. Jones, Program Manager of Creative Industries at Invest Atlanta. Hailing from Columbus, MS, Sheoyki is taking Atlanta by storm in a phenomenal way. Whether supporting local creatives, investing in entrepreneurs or speaking at empowerment events, Sheoyki is a rising star and a force to be reckoned with. We had a chance to chat with Sheoyki to learn more about her!
Tell us a bit about your role at Invest Atlanta.
I am the Program Manager of Creative Industries at Invest Atlanta. I lead Invest Atlanta’s efforts in creative industries. I work with local filmmakers, music artists, creative entrepreneurs, etc. and educate them on city government support to them within the City of Atlanta. I build out programs to help creatives grow and expand in their business efforts.
How did you get started?
Originally when I joined Invest Atlanta, I was the Senior Legal Assistant. In 2017, I was promoted to the Portfolio and Research Coordinator supporting the Economic Development and Investment Services teams. While working with the Economic Development team, I saw an opportunity to activate our Film and Entertainment target cluster, because there was no activity. Prior to Invest Atlanta, I have done work in film and entertainment working with independent artists and fashion model. Film and Entertainment has always been a side passion of mine, but I loved corporate structure. The opportunity to work in Creative Industries with Invest Atlanta was the perfect balance I longed for. I communicated to my Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Kevin Johnson, that I would like to activate our film and entertainment target cluster. He gave me the full ammunition and support to do just that. Not only did I have his support, my President and CEO was completely supportive, as well.With their support, I began meeting with local creatives learning their challenges. I met with film and music studios, digital entertainment entrepreneurs and so much more to learn how do they think the City can be more supportive. With the feedback that I received, I began building out the first City loan fund to invest in content for local creatives. At the end of 2017, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office, we launched the Creative Industries Loan fund, in which the Mayor allocated 1.25M to support the vision. Launching this fund, lead me to my new position, Program Manager of Creative Industries.
Tell us about your educational journey.
I am originally from Columbus, MS. My educational journey began in a small private school, Victory Christian Academy. I went to private school from K-4 until 8th grade. In the 8th grade, I began public school at Lee Middle School and continued high school at Columbus High School. From the beginning I always took education serious. I was always in the top percentage of my class and on A and B honor roll. In private school, I was the only African american in my class, so I felt had to work harder than everybody else. It rooted me in being a hard studious worker. Following high school, I went to the University of Mississippi a.k.a Ole Miss. Ole Miss taught me so much about myself and continued to shape me to be the person I am today. They didn’t hold your hand or make you go to class, you had to want it for yourself. Ole Miss really shaped me to be a more independent and efficient worker. I graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in Paralegal Studies. I had every intent to be a lawyer, but quickly lost the passion of law, but kept the passion of helping people. Somehow, I was blessed to end up at Invest Atlanta and can see the work that I am doing transforming my community.
What’s the most rewarding part of entrepreneurship?
Although, I do not have my own business. I still view myself as an entrepreneur, in my career. To be able to create my own lane in Invest Atlanta took true entrepreneurial skills. The most rewarding part about what I do is having the freedom to create! Many people leave corporate, because they feel they have no freedom. Although we are a government agency and have a lot of rules we have to follow, my leadership at Invest Atlanta empowers us, gives us freedom to be creative and explore our ideas. Most importantly, my leadership supports us and helps bring our ideas to fruition.
In your opinion, what is unique about being a professional Black Woman?
The unique thing about being professional black woman is that we are always underestimated. Professional black women are able to wear many hats and adapt to any situation. They may not speak much, but when they do they is something of substance. She can adapt to any situation and operate without emotion. Her world can be falling a part and you will never know. Although black women are portrayed poorly in media today, the professional black woman exists and are the future.
What’s your business mantra?
We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring Black women entrepreneurs?
My one piece of advice to aspiring black women entrepreneurs would be trust your journey. Life has so many ups and downs and takes so many turns, but if you trust God, everything works out according to his plan.
How can the Pedestal Project readers learn more about you and Invest Atlanta?
Feel free to visit our company website: http://www.investatlanta.com
If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured in Pedestal Professionals, please complete the form in the “Connect” section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.