Innovating Community Building and Engagement: Q&A with PAHO Foundation Board of Trustees Chair, Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones currently leads PAHO Foundation’s (the Foundation) Board of Trustees as its Chair, serving as an ambassador to actively help the Foundation build and strengthen relationships with prospective partners and supporters. Prior to this post, Ms. Jones held the position of Vice Chair and has been with the Foundation since January 2015.

Outside of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Ms. Jones directs and manages The Clorox Company’s global interactions with governments and sustainability-driven solutions as its Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs and as the Vice President/Secretary for The Clorox Company Foundation.

Last year, Ms. Jones was inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame, with 12 other accomplished, local women for their impactful community contributions during the 23rd Anniversary Luncheon and Awards Ceremony. 

The Foundation recently connected with Ms. Jones after her accomplishments for an exclusive interview. You can read our fruitful discussion, where she shares advice to future leaders and some of Clorox’s current community work, below!

PAHO Foundation: Congratulations again on your induction into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame! What a momentous feat! What does this recognition mean to you, and how will it impact your work at Clorox and with the Foundation?

Ms. Jones: Thank you. It is always great to be recognized by your peers and the community. I am very lucky to have a position at Clorox where I can contribute so significantly to the wellbeing of our community. We all have the responsibility to make sure we contribute and “pay it forward” to help make the places we live, work, and play healthy — through strong economies, good schools, better housing, improved disease prevention, and more.

But this is not just about personal recognition; it is also about getting valuable feedback on how we are doing. Clorox has been in business for over 100 years and has built its reputation on making sure we are good corporate citizens. We will continue that legacy by always looking for ways we can strengthen and foster our community connection.

PAHO Foundation: You received this recognition in part because of your commitment to helping local communities. In your perspective and experience, how important is social responsibility and community involvement to any individual or organization?

Ms. Jones: Social responsibility is important to both individuals and organizations alike. For Clorox, strong values have underpinned our business since it was founded more than 100 years ago. We believe in good growth — growth that is profitable, sustainable, and achieved the right way, which means having a strong commitment to corporate responsibility. We believe it is the responsibility of businesses to not only lead community efforts but to empower and make opportunities for their employees to do so as well.

PAHO Foundation: What would you, as a seasoned international business professional, say to young people starting their careers, and do you have any words of advice?

Ms. Jones: I believe women and men alike should have a community outlook as they go forward in their careers, not only externally but internally as well, making sure they have strong relationships, concern for others, and a focus on always making things better. In the process, they should be prepared for the path they want to take. That means always being open to new ideas that in some cases will change that path, having strong values, and striving for continuous improvement in all aspects of their lives. In addition, they should have a positive attitude. Life can throw you curves, but I would assure them that as long as you look for the positive, you will make the right decisions.

PAHO Foundation: In your opinion, what are the most valuable pillars of partnership engagement? How does this influence your involvement not only at Clorox but with the Foundation’s Board of Trustees?

Ms. Jones: Many factors are important in any successful partnership. Trust is foremost; any partnership needs trust of one another. Another important pillar is integrity — always being honest and forthright with one another. You also must have follow-through, doing what you say you are going to do. Clarity of purpose is critical as well; you need to know why you are there, what you want to accomplish, how it advances the partnership, and whether you are a good match. Your values and goals really need to align. Lastly, I would say it is important to have a commitment that you will stay true to your word and honor your obligations.

PAHO Foundation: What are your current community engagement projects at Clorox, and in what areas are they focused? Are there any exciting forthcoming project developments that you can share with us?

Ms. Jones: The mission and focus of The Clorox Company Foundation is K-12 public education and cultural arts programs. In addition, we support our employees in their passion for our communities through our workplace giving, volunteer rewards, and volunteer programs. The Clorox Company Foundation recently announced the launch of a new philanthropic focus area, health and wellness centered on urban farms, based on the premise that good nutrition is the root of many, if not all, health and wellness concerns.

PAHO Foundation: Thank you for your service to PAHO Foundation and for serving as an integral component of its Executive Committee. We are thrilled to have you and Clorox as partners, contributing to our mission of advancing public health in Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada. What are your goals for the Foundation this year as its Board of Trustees Chair, and how will your community work with The Clorox Company and The Clorox Foundation shape your work on our Board?

Ms. Jones: I am proud to oversee the initiatives of PAHO Foundation this year as its Chair and as a board member. To fulfill the Foundation’s mission to support the health and wellness of people across the Americas, my goals this year are to strengthen trustee engagement and support, diversify, and expand the Foundation’s governance profile by building a robust pipeline of new trustee prospects. These goals are critical aspirations for all nonprofit boards as I have learned from my experiences working with and supporting community-based, regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations.