Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Yolanda Jackson
Profession: Associate Vice President of Economic Mobility at The Columbus Urban League
Neighborhood: East Columbus
Education: Bachelor’s of Art in Social Work from Wright State University, Master’s of Science in Marketing and Communications from Franklin University
Community Involvement: Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated -Alpha Sigma Omega Chapter, Board Member of Steps of Love Corporation-Poverty Alleviator and homeless prevention 501c3, 2022 Graduate of CYP Columbus Impact Academy
Quote: “People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable.” -Unknown
Give us a snapshot of your path
I was born and raised in Columbus. Primarily raised by a single mother, but truly raised by a very strong Linden community “village”. Looking back I now realize that much of why I am who I am today is because of the experiences that I had in that once-thriving community. I believe leadership has truly been a passion of mine. I was placed on this earth to inspire people to succeed at their highest potential, even when they are not aware of what their truest potential is. A true leader is first committed to the growth of him/her self that will encourage others by seeing their actions. Over the remainder of my career, I would like to encourage others to encourage positively, intentionally, and authentically.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
What gets me up each day is the grace of God to see another day! I follow the exact same routine each morning, which most importantly includes coffee.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
The best advice I have received is that self-care is necessary for this work! It’s hard and can wear you down…we have all heard that you can not pour from an empty cup! So, I like to keep my cup full!
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I love music! During the pandemic, I invested in a record player…I fell in love with that vintage sound of vinyl albums. I also love to paint.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Upper Cup Coffee, Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen, Yelo Aple, Black Art Plus, and The Royce
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I was fascinated with International Business. I thought being able to travel, learn new cultures, languages, and help the economy was interesting. Once I went to college, Social Work truly called me so I followed…
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek, “The Deeper the Roots: A Memoir of Hope and Home” by Michael Tubbs
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I was nominated by a member of my team so this award shows me that my work is valuable, and needed, and should continue with every single breath in my body. I’m grateful for the relationships and support in my life that allow me to do the work that I was called to do. The path that I am on is led with intention, willingness, and expectation from the front and hopefully followed by generations that are behind me with action.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The “pulse” of Columbus is vibrant! One of the most critical defining characteristics of a vibrant place is the amount and density of unique places and events in that place. Vibrant places such as North Market and East Market are very vibey, meaning lots of people with different types of vibes come together in one place. Downtown Columbus is “pulsing with life” the robustness and healthy flow of people are paramount to establishing the vibrancy of a city. I hope that our connectivity, ease, and access for people are the lifeline of urban activity and continue to flourish as more people gravitate here.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »