Darryl T. Jones II
Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis University High School
Saint Louis University, BS, Business Administration- Concentration Marketing;
Lindenwood University, MA, Nonprofit Administration
Urban League Young Professionals
In short, what do you do?
As Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships, I am responsible for establishing, maintaining, and growing links between various factions in our community that include but are not limited to, civic community, corporations, church and clergy, activists, schools and youth groups. More importantly, I am charged with making sure that we continue to grow and develop the Urban League brand while carrying out the mission of our agency and following the vision of our President & CEO Mr. Michael P. McMillan. I work to provide opportunities to those who need it to improve their lives. For a young adult that has been active in the community since childhood, this position is a natural fit. I am also responsible for the Federation of Block Units, one of the oldest neighborhood community improvement organizations in the St. Louis region, serving as their Urban League liaison.
Working in the business of building community partnerships, which of your skill sets serve you best?
There are a few skill sets that are very important to having success in this position. One of those skills is the ability to be adaptable. There are many problems that occur in our community and you have to be able to adjust your direction and focus on the fly. Another skill that one must have is an ability to be forward thinking. Along with being forward thinking, you must also be a long term visionary. Many issues could have a “spark in the pan” solution. True success and progress for our community needs long term solutions. Lastly, communication skills are key, and more specifically communication skills with humility. Those two may not seem as though they should be connected. However, in my role, I may start the day in a meeting with a bank looking for funding for a project focusing on youth education initiatives, followed by a meeting with an activist discussing strategies to bring about change in a particular space, followed by a meeting with a conservative baby boomer who does not understand the changes in society that are occurring, but they want to figure a way to assist in Urban League efforts in the community.
What compelled you to move back to St. Louis?
I have been doing community work since I was five years old. Going with my father to community service projects with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated instilled in me at a very young age that if we want this community to grow, we have to be part of the group to plant the seeds. It also helped that I was blessed with great black male mentorship throughout my life, in the form of Darryl Jones, Sr., Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr., Public Safety Director (Judge) Jimmie Edwards, Sterling Miller, Michael P. McMillan, James Clark, and countless others, that helped form and develop such a strong and deeply rooted love for St. Louis. I have been all over, and I guarantee there is no greater city. You will never find a region with the character, or characters, that this great region has. After conversations with my mother, Villajean Jones, I felt inspired to move back with the knowledge and experiences that I gained while in California in order to help move the needle forward here and help St. Louis live up to the potential we all know that it has.