Darrell Jones crouches next to a woman to pet a dog.

Major: Politics
Profession: Customer Success Manager, Twilio, San Francisco, Calif.; TechEquity Founder; Artist
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

What are you doing now?

I laugh at this, but upon reflection, I realize I’m doing a lot of what I did at Pomona! I work in tech at Twilio managing relationships with key accounts as a customer success manager. I cofounded a political advocacy nonprofit called the TechEquity Collaborative that organizes tech workers for political action. And I’m a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Public Imagination Fellow where I’m creating a public artistic production addressing questions like, “where is our public imagination?” and ” how we dream better together?”

At Twilio, I nurture relationships with companies throughout the Bay area and NY. I provide consultative approaches to leveraging innovative communication tools to help our customers better engage, retain, and delight their customers. I work with large companies like Apple, Twitter, and Visa as well as startups like NerdWallet,  Box, and Github to drive more value from communications.

I organize, convene and advocate through the TechEquity Collaborative. We work in tandem with local grassroots advocacy organizations to advance policy solutions in the realm of housing, workforce development and digital access. In partnership with Our Beloved Community Action Network and the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative, we recently helped successfully lobby the city of Oakland to secure $2.2 million over the next two years for anti-displacement services and $5 million for new affordable housing development.

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellowship allows me to take all this concrete action I’m engaged in and pursue it through the subtler senses. I channel all my reading, meditating, contemplating, and action into grappling with questions of public imagination through art.

Darrell Jones headshot for After Pomona series.

Outside of these engagements, I’ve built a self-directed class for myself around how great thinkers throughout time have approximated meaning in life. I’m seeking to understand how we can help people in the modern era lead meaningful lives. I also maintain a meditation practice.

How did you get there?

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” ~ Parker J. Palmer

There’s a surface level path from Pomona and then there’s the underlying level. On the surface, I went from Pomona to starting a company in Shanghai to joining some Pomona alums running a startup, to my current posts. But that description misses most of the action. The real path covers hours of introspection, numerous conversations with wise mentors and constant feedback from testing. That three-step process is called "wayfinding." It recognizes the internal predispositions of a person, the dialectical nature of meaning making, and the need to validate informed hypothesis against the world. This is how I ended up where I’m at and how I’ll navigate where I’m going.

How did Pomona prepare you? 

Relationships. Deep, loving relationships with faculty, administrators and peers prepared me for life after Pomona.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Helping even more folks lead meaningful lives through changing policy, shaping public discourse and personal ministry.

Any advice for prospective or current students?

Learn how to cultivate loving relationships, starting with yourself first. 

Get a therapist.

Meditate, contemplate, pray.