Gem Jones is a passionate and dedicated advocate. She is a natural leader who possesses strong management skills and an enthusiasm for building up and empowering others. Gem has many marketable skills including non-profit retail management, supervising staff and volunteers, data entry, overseeing daily operations, team building, and all aspects of bookkeeping.
Gem helps organize, promote, and give voice to issues impacting returning citizens in her community, throughout her state, and across the country. She is frequently invited to speak across a wide range of platforms related to legislation, advocacy, and reform. Gem dreams of a career where she can blend her natural leadership and passion for advocacy with her management skills, non-profit work and public service.
Through education and work experience, Gem has developed proficiency in:
- Management: overseeing all aspects of retail management; trusted key holder;
- Supervision: scheduling and supervision of up to 30 people;
- Financial Management and Bookkeeping: strategic retail pricing, receipt entry, bank deposits, data entry, monthly reports;
- Customer Service: forward facing with the public and support for non-profit clients in crisis;
- Advocacy and Public Speaking: speaking engagements, volunteerism, event planning; and promoting, networking, and testifying in support of legislative changes.
- Associates of Arts Degree at Arkansas State University, anticipated 2022
- Management at Second Chance Thrift Store, a full-time member of the management team at a retail shop connected with a non-profit providing services for women
- Facilitator of an online forum with over 1,500 followers
- Dance Instructor creating and teaching original dances for individuals, couples and groups
In addition to her full-time employment, Gem is the creator and sole moderator for the online group “What About Us Behind the Walls?” The purpose of this group is to increase public awareness of issues facing those serving excessive sentences. The page currently has 1,500+ followers and has become a trusted source of information for incarcerated women and their families, as well as returning citizens.
- Diploma in Business Management
- Certifications in Field Leadership, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Emergency Management
- 20+ years of experience in mentoring, teaching, and administrative tasks
Gem was incarcerated as a child at the age of 16. She served 21 years, and during that time sought out every available opportunity to prepare for re-entry. She began advocating for others before she was even released, and is committed to providing the women who were left behind with meaningful support. Gem is transparent in her personal story and has shared her testimony in churches, at legislative hearings, and professional conferences. She seeks to live a life of atonement for her past.
Gem has a contagious zest for life! She enjoys being outdoors and loves skydiving, parasailing, travel, hiking, fishing (she baits her own hooks!), and simply just looking up at the stars.