As we all know, diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a hot topic of conversation. It’s a motivating factor behind surveys, data, articles, lawsuits, and actions that make our workforce diverse and inclusive. In the fields of AdTech & STEM especially, initiatives are being built in the masses to make D&I a priority.

But AdRoll is not alone in this journey. Starting this year, we will be curating content that highlights conversations about diversity with AdRoll employees and peers in our industry. Your neighbor who hosts the best house parties AND works at Snapchat or your college roommate who always gave you snacks AND works at Slack. It’s a celebration of where our industry is right now AND how we can work together to get it to where it should be. D&I isn’t just a passing trend, it’s a movement. This time, we sat down with Justin Jones, the Ad Operations lead at Blavity out of Los Angeles.

What does Diversity & Inclusion mean to you in the workplace? When/How did you realize D&I was important to you?

To me D&I means a collective group of people with different cultures and backgrounds all working together toward a common goal. Looking at the big picture I believe a diverse group of ideas brings the best results that solve the hardest problems of the world.

What was your first job? What is your job now? Can you describe the connection between the two?

My first job was at a MobileExxon Gas station near the New Jersey Turnpike coming from New York City. Today, I’m the Director of Ad Operations at Blavity, a multimedia tech and lifestyle company. The connection between the two, and my career path at its core, has been about providing great customer service and being exposed to many different personalities and backgrounds.

How has your perspective as a African-American influenced the work you do now?

As an African American with years of experience in ad tech and ad operations, I was very excited to join a company like Blavity that is a voice as well as a multimedia platform for our community.

What advice would you give your younger self-starting out in Tech?

Work hard. Be patient. And always keep that great attitude.

What Diversity and Inclusion efforts are you a part of, whether in the workplace or outside of the office?

I participate in a non-profit organization that raises cultural awareness and promotes diversity to the sport of surfing through community activities.

If you could accomplish one thing for D&I at your company, what would it be?  

Just to continue combining technology with culture, content, and entertainment. I’d also love to continue to add more balance to the way our community is represented in media.

What are your personal goals in 2017 for improving/impacting D&I in your industry?

A personal goal of mine has always been a commitment to continuous learning and being socially competent. Taking the time and patience to learn about different people and driving positive change.

Where do you see D&I in Tech heading in the next 5 years?

Through technology our society has become hyperconnected and globalized, and with that comes the exchange of many different ideas, views, and cultures. I believe in order for tech companies to stay innovative and relevant for the future, it’s important to build adaptive products and company cultures that represent our diverse world.

Justin Jones is an AdTech professional leading the Ad Operations arm of Blavity out of Los Angeles.  Check out more on Justin’s thoughts around diversity & inclusion in tech and connect with him through his LinkedIn: