Dr. Victoria E. Jones says, “I decided to pursue a career in the automotive industry as a direct result of a summer internship provided through Marygrove. As a result, I have a wonderful career in Human Resources with General Motors of more than 35 years’ standing. The Liberal Arts training has served me well in leading people-related work at GM.”
Currently, Victoria is human resources director and dean of the College of Leadership, General Motors University. She is responsible for setting the global strategic direction for the Global Leadership Development Curriculum for GM executives and managers. Training in many technical areas, as well as in diversity, is provided and often mandatory within the corporation. Victoria also leads the communication and marketing activities for General Motors University.
Charlene Beard of GM Corporate Staff Group HR reflects on an example of Dr. Jones’ style, “I recently traveled to Shanghai, China, with Dr. Jones. Her leadership capabilities, warmth and her innate ability to get to the heart of matters as well as her ability to work collaboratively with people of various cultural backgrounds and personalities to achieve specific goals astonished all who came in contact with her.” So much so, that the “Women of Shanghai” wanted to nominate her as a “Distinguished Woman of Shanghai.” “Well, we later discovered only natives of China were eligible for the award.”
During the mid-1990s, Victoria was GM’s Director of Diversity Strategies. According to then Vice President William Brooks, she developed the education model that successfully implemented the diversity strategies in the United States, Canada, England, France and Germany. Mr. Brooks writes, “She developed the basic premise that diversity was not a social, legal or moral issue but was a business imperative. Her efforts have had a lasting impact on the General Motors Corporation.”
Her pastor, the Reverend Larry Smith, New St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church of Detroit, speaks of Victoria’s generosity in giving of her time and talent, citing in particular her chairing of the Victorious Women’s Conference for the past two years. Victoria, a woman committed to Christian ideals, has found the following creed helpful in navigating through life’s challenges: “I believe that it is my faith that has provided the wisdom of looking to the Lord for insights and perspective first – before seeking counsel from others.”
While working for GM, Victoria earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a Doctorate of Management from University of Phoenix. She also completed executive development programs at the University of Michigan, Columbia and MIT. She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit XVI.
Victoria is proud that she has integrated “my Christian values into every facet of my life. It can be challenging to practice one’s faith in a corporate or academic environment.”
She recalls that Sister Amata Miller, Marygrove professor of economics, was especially influential in learning to simplify and to apply key concepts quickly in a corporate setting. “Sister Amata was helpful in building my confidence and business acumen.”
Victoria advises students that nothing takes the place of preparedness. “Work hard at optimizing the learning experience--even when the topic is not of great interest. Understand early those topics that provide passion and focus. Remember the three Ps: “Persistence, Perseverance and Passion.”
She expresses passion for her family, which includes her husband David, daughter Piper and son-in-law Clarence McElroy and grandchild Janelle, her mother and siblings.
“They provide such joy in my life.” She also is passionate about creating an environment that allows people to grow and contribute to the success of an organization. Finally, she is passionate about servant leadership—in service to others, as a support system to those in need.