Van Jones recently clocked five 17-hour days on CNN throughout the 2020 election and is a familiar face to many Americans. But he is so much more than a political contributor.
Van is an American change-maker. He is a three-time NY Times best-selling author and hosts two shows and a podcast for CNN. He’s also a social entrepreneur whose mission in life is to lead the fight for criminal justice reform. He co-founded a series of social enterprises, worked directly in the White House, and led a campaign to pass one of the most substantial breakthroughs in criminal justice with the FIRST STEP Act.
With kindness and drive, Van has navigated so many parts of American culture and politics with the purpose of enacting true change – and he has learned more than a few lessons in that time.
The entire TripActions team was honored to meet with Van for a special one-hour conversation led by TripActions Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Shaka Senghor.
The conversation touched on several of the critical dynamics affecting business today. Jones spoke about blind and sore spots and the need for leaders across all industries to become more aware of these aspects that hinder them from building truly inclusive spaces.
He then touched on the complete disservice that these blind spots – or operating in any homogeneous situation – create. Most organizations are only using 10% of the genius available to them. It might be because a diverse set of opinions and perspectives are not all in the room. Or it might be that they’re in the room but don’t feel comfortable sharing their true thoughts.
Van explained how diversity and inclusion aren’t just about being fair, but are actually a critical part of what it takes to win in a certain field. When all voices are heard, skills like empathy, observation, and listening are brought to the table.
“You have no idea how smart the quiet people are,” he says while laying out the business argument for ensuring that teams are diverse and inclusive in every sense.
Shaka’s conversation with Van Jonesis part of an ongoing series of discussions at TripActions held to ensure that the organization is held accountable to its values of diversity and inclusion in every sense of the words. From partnering with local organizations to provide laptops and mentorship opportunities to ensuring inclusive language across communication and understanding the foundational values that drive our leadership, TripActions is proud to be a diverse and inclusive workplace.