In a Q&A with City Biz List, Joseph T. Jones ’06, social work, CEO of The Center for Urban Families, shares some of the challenges of his childhood years, and some of the secrets to his success in the non-profit sector, including a mentor relationship with UMBC president Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. Jones founded CFUF, a non-profit organization that connects men and women to career paths and strengthens their families, in 1999.
As he tells City Biz List:
I met Freeman at an event that I was speaking at in 2004 about education, father absence, and my personal story. After the talk, Freeman came up to me and asked why I never went back to school. I started making excuses and I had heard about Freeman but really didn’t know much about him; just that he has a really booming voice and presence. So he said that he wanted me in his office the next day. I go to his office and this man, in about 15 minutes, completely dresses me down—the way in which a father would dress down a son when he is not realizing his potential. I had no intention of going back to school; focusing my additional years on this earth in an academic institution was the furthest thing from my mind. I really don’t even know what the hell happened but the next thing you know I’m sitting in a class. Two years later, I graduated from UMBC cum laude. I would not have done that without him.