Third Act Podcast

Your first act is school, your second act is work, but have you thought about what you’re going to do in your third act? Join host Liz Tinkham, a former Accenture Senior Managing Director, as she talks to guests who are happily “pretired” – enjoying their time, treasure, and talent to pursue their purpose and passion in the third act of their life.

Share this episode

Inspire others to get more and to do more later in life.

Elevate your executive learning

Athena helps women achieve executive-level leadership expertise, polish their boardroom and executive knowledge, get closer to board seats, and make leaps in their careers.

The Voice with Angela Jones

membership package

Angela Jones learned early on how to use her voice to advocate for herself and others. Starting in the education space, Angela challenged herself and her community to find a solution for permanent systemic change, giving access to all people regardless of generational or geographical barriers.

She demonstrated her voice as educator, university senior administrator, and now CEO of Washington STEM, a nonprofit focused on equity and STEM education in Washington State. Angela’s voice led her to career success, but it has also helped to change the lives of thousands of kids across the state of Washington.

Listen to Angela speak about leading with impact and how her drive to help others is her primary motivator.

  • (00:18) Act .5: the English teacher and Toni Morrison
  • (03:26) Act 1: WSU English Lit and Teaching
  • (03:36) Working in Wapato
  • (05:51) Leading with impact, starting from home
  • (07:31) Extroversion and the aggressive, aggressive side
  • (09:45) Aspirations to achieve a doctorate degree
  • (11:33) Investing in education to become transformational
  • (15:06) Amplifying the voices and needs of others
  • (17:22) Becoming CEO facilitating major decisions
  • (20:37) Making the move from corporate education to nonprofit
  • (23:05) Overcoming generational and geographical barriers in education
  • (26:16) The Black Future Co-op Fund
  • (29:10) Being a good ancestor, the leading motivator behind every action
  • (30:00) Creating systemic impact through funding
  • (32:27) Talking to myself through blogging

Read Angela’s blog at www.ceoarj.com, or find out about the work she’s doing with Washington STEM at https://washingtonstem.org/. Hear more stories of people who found new meaning and fulfillment in the third act of their life on Liz Tinkham’s Third Act podcast at thirdactpodcast.com.

Liz Tinkham (00:18):
Hi, this is Liz Tinkham and welcome to Third Act, a podcast about people embracing the third act of their lives with a new sense of purpose and direction. The third act begins when your script ends but your show’s just not finished. Hello, and welcome to Third Act. Today I talk with one of my favorite people, Angela Jones, The Voice. Angela learned early on how to use her voice to advocate for herself and others by pushing her high school English teacher to include black authors in the curriculum. She’s kept using her voice as an educator, university senior administrator, and now a CEO of Washington STEM, a nonprofit focused on equity and STEM education in Washington State. Her voice got her to a CEO position, but it’s also helped to change the lives of thousands of kids across the state of Washington. So Angela, thank you so much for doing Third Act, welcome.

Angela Jones (01:16):
Thank you, Liz. It’s so great to be here. I’ve appreciated just processing and getting ready and thinking about my story, what is the story.

Liz Tinkham (01:25):
What I didn’t mention is that one of the first times I saw you in action as the CEO of Washington STEM is doing a keynote for the STEM Conference and you sang the opening. Perhaps the voice will also render a song for us throughout this as well, so we’ll see. You’ve got a great voice.

Angela Jones (01:41):
Well, thank you. I haven’t figured out how to do that while we’re all working in cyberspace right now.

Liz Tinkham (01:48):
Well, I think if anybody you’ll figure that out. I love the story about talking with your English teacher and letting you write about the very controversial Toni Morrison. But I thought you said to me that you were kind of an introverted kid, how did you find that voice early on and be able to push back?

Angela Jones (02:08):
I was very shy, knocked-kneed, pigeon-toed, no idea what to do with that. A lot of hair and didn’t know what to do with it, and so I was still trying to find myself. But this particular assignment, I’ll never forget it, the teacher said, “Choose a book that speaks to you about your life and your journey.” And I as a black student wanted to choose a black author and I was in that moment where even though I was an introvert, I had a stubborn streak in there and the stubborn streak showed up and just said, “None of these white authors as good as they may be are going to speak to my story growing up as a black student.” And so I really pushed back to say, if you want to hear about my life story, my voice, then you need to allow me to pick an author that represents me better.

Liz Tinkham (03:01):
And you realize then that… Was that the first time you figured you got to use this voice to start advocating for yourself?

Angela Jones (03:08):
That was the first time I used it. Not the first time I realized I should, the first time I had the courage to do it. And English literature is a great love of mine, and so this was a place where I was going to choose the battle.

Liz Tinkham (03:26):
That’s a really good one to start with too. So you just mentioned English literature, you got a degree from Washington State University in English Lit and Teaching, right?

Angela Jones (03:36):
Yes.

Liz Tinkham (03:36):
So it was a combination. And so tell us about one of your early teaching experiences. I think you mentioned it was in Yakima and some of the sort of voice lessons you learned there as well.

Angela Jones (03:46):
Yeah. I was actually in the Yakima Valley in a little town called Wapato, Washington. I chose Wapato because I loved teaching students from the reservation. I wanted to be able to make sure that brown and black students continue to have hope and that the education system was hearing them. I had a friend who is from the Yakama Indian Nation and decided to go out there and spend some time trying to be a part of that education system.

Liz Tinkham (04:16):
How’d you find it? How was it?

Angela Jones (04:19):
It was amazing. That’s the place where I learned that no matter what the socioeconomics of families, no matter the circumstances, parents, guardians, grandparents, whomever, they care about their kids’ education. They may not know exactly how to navigate the system, but they care about it. It matters. And I love that.

Liz Tinkham (04:40):
You get called back to higher ed. So you’ve graduated, you’ve gone to Yakima, but then Washington State University, the cougars come again, why’d you end up going back, make the switch from teaching into higher ed?

Angela Jones (04:54):
I had actually been a student affairs intern when I was an undergrad, and working in the admissions’ office and so they knew I was out there somewhere teaching and they had a position recruiting students of color to Washington State University, the Pullman campus. They asked me if I wouldn’t mind applying and then I got an interview and went out there, and as much as I’d wanted to stay near students, education and access to education has always been a driver for me, and I thought if I could help students of color envision themselves being on a college campus and have the access to that, that would help me move my goal forward even more around access to education for communities of color. And so it was a tough decision. My principal was not happy with me. But I don’t live life with regrets. It was the right decision at the time.

Liz Tinkham (05:51):
And then you move to the Spokane Public Schools into HR.

Angela Jones (05:54):
Again, it was recruitment. By that time my son was about almost one.

Liz Tinkham (06:03):
DJ?

Angela Jones (06:04):
Yeah, DJ. The little giant. He was almost one.

Liz Tinkham (06:08):
And not six or whatever he is now, right?

Angela Jones (06:11):
Yeah. He was six, five at the time.

Liz Tinkham (06:13):
Oh, my goodness.

Angela Jones (06:15):
He was a baby and I was traveling quite a bit for WSU and it got to the point where I told myself, “It starts at home.” And so I needed to be home more with my kids and he’s my youngest. But again, he was one. And so I reached out, I was volunteering for Spokane Public Schools and I said, “I’m thinking about a life change, if you guys ever have anything let me know.” And they said, “Please check our website.” And they had a job for the director of employment services or head of hiring and recruitment for all certificated staff. I applied and it was a great chance again to still impact education. That’s always my decision-making lever. Like, will it still have an impact on students? So I felt like if I could be a part of hiring the people that would inter engage with students directly, that would still help me keep my goals moving forward.

Liz Tinkham (07:17):
You mentioned to me when we were prepping for this that your voice was sort of in the aggressive, aggressive mode at this point, what do you mean by that?

Angela Jones (07:27):
Well, that stubborn streak I mentioned earlier?

Liz Tinkham (07:30):
Yes.

Angela Jones (07:31):
So I started to move right around the time of that story of my high school towards learning how to be an extrovert in certain situations and so I began speaking out. And then when I got to college, I became quite a student activist. And would crash meetings I wasn’t invited to to discuss budget. I mean, all of the things. But I continually threw rocks at the giant. There was never a conversation of like, “Can I use inquiry and ask why this is happening, how we could change it?” I would just come at people with a flamethrower. My wit moves very fast and sometimes it was things I was using for evil and not good. It’s a superpower I was not willed in correctly.

Liz Tinkham (08:19):
Ah, interesting. Knowing you now I can’t see you doing it. Yeah, interesting. So was it also that way when you were in Spokane?

Angela Jones (08:28):
No. I had started to learn a bit of diplomacy. I’m part Filipino and part black, and my father always jokes around that I get the aggressive, aggressive side from the Ramos side of the family, which is my mother’s side. And so it got to a point where I would call my dad for some wisdom and he would say, whatever you do, don’t let Ramos rise.

Liz Tinkham (08:50):
Wow.

Angela Jones (08:51):
And so that took-

Liz Tinkham (08:51):
I hope your mother wasn’t in the room. Was she?

Angela Jones (08:53):
Oh, my mother knows.

Liz Tinkham (08:54):
Okay.

Angela Jones (08:54):
She knows. She owns it. And so we talk about that, I have decisions to make when I’m getting upset or I’m wanting to tackle something and which tool in my tool belt, there has to be more than one. And at that time that you’re talking about, there was only one. It was like I’m coming at you and I’m coming fast and furiously.

Liz Tinkham (09:13):
Yeah. Wow. So when you’re in Spokane, you end up doing quite a bit of legal negotiating through some legal issues and you decide to go to law school, which I think is an interesting twist. How many years out of undergraduate school are you at this point?

Angela Jones (09:29):
Oh, boy. At this point I was 42 years old.

Liz Tinkham (09:33):
So what made you decide? I mean, you’ve got a child at home or multiple children at home, you’ve got a pretty big job and you go to Gonzaga, no slough school there, what made you decide to take all that on?

Angela Jones (09:45):
When I was five I knew I wanted a doctorate, and I didn’t know what that meant. It was just something my parents were like, “You should be a doctor.” And so that’s what I put in my head. I ended up starting my PhD at WSU but it was going to be in education, and I just felt like at the time it wasn’t the right thing for me. And so I waited several years and then I was talking to my boss in HR at the time and we were both interested in law degrees. It was really hard because you couldn’t just do it part-time at Gonzaga. I was thinking I’m not in a space where I’d quit my job, I was a single mom at that point.

Angela Jones (10:30):
When my son was eight, Gonzaga came out with a two year accelerated law program which is typically three years. And so I told my boss if I get into that program, I’m going to go ahead and do it because I’ve always wanted some type of a doctoral degree. A JD works for me and I’m doing all of this legal work in HR, and I don’t have the background, and I also love understanding systems, because I also during this time feeling like in order to amplify my voice or the voices of others, I needed to understand the systems I was trying to work within and tackle and change. And so I felt like a law degree…I’d understood the education system really well, I wanted to understand law and I also wanted to understand policy.

Liz Tinkham (11:14):
So in looking back, I mean, I just ask because maybe people listening to this might be thinking it’s too late for me to go back to school to do something like that. I mean, when looking back at it, which wasn’t that long ago, are you happy that you did it? Do you think it’s added to your career success or are you glad you did?

Angela Jones (11:33):
Oh, yeah. I have zero regrets and people will say, well, it costs a lot to go to law school. It does, but I didn’t just invest. People say when you do a college degree you invest in your future. I’m not just investing in my future, I’m investing in generations of my family members coming after Angela Jones, and I’m also investing in the students and the families I’m trying to help because you need certain knowledge and skills to actually be able to help people in a way that’s going to be transformational.

Liz Tinkham (12:05):
Yeah. Particularly when you’re doing systems work across the state because there’s so many different components.

Angela Jones (12:10):
Yeah.

Liz Tinkham (12:16):
Then you get called to Eastern Washington University, they find you to become the chief of staff, which is a further departure from English literature. But you said to me that you look at, and you mentioned it earlier, that you look at everything in terms of where you can have the greatest impact. So tell us a little bit about your thinking there when you made that switch.

Angela Jones (12:36):
I’m always looking at… When I became a teacher, I was like, wow, impacted whatever kids were in my classroom. When I became an administrator at a school district, I was making decisions that impacted every classroom and every family. Then when I looked at potential being the chief of staff for Eastern and chief advisor to the president, that’s a much larger organization. In that particular role, I was advisor to the president, but also had oversight of all of the policy at the institution.

Angela Jones (13:08):
Again, as we are trying to change systems, we know policies often get in our way, and I have levers to be able to pull to change things that could possibly make it better for students accessing education, and Eastern was an access institution. Their student body is very diverse. First-generation students, students of color, students from rural communities, all students I’m passionate about, all being educated at an institution, regional institution like Eastern. So I thought if I could be at that level, at that executive level, again that impact is far reaching because once you can change one student’s trajectory, again, you’re changing generations of students. And if I can teach them what I learned about how to grow and be confident and amplify my voice, again, greater impact.

Liz Tinkham (14:00):
So your voice, you go from the entry knock-kneed introvert who speaks out to flame thrower, aggressive, aggressive voice, again I can’t imagine it, and then what happens as you get through law school, get into Eastern, what changes do you make to your voice then?

Angela Jones (14:18):
Those changes were happening through all of those steps you just talked about, because one of the things that I started to think…In between, I also got a master’s of science in communication studies. So I studied a lot of communications theory.

Liz Tinkham (14:32):
Oh, that’s a good idea.

Angela Jones (14:33):
Me just saying it doesn’t mean somebody is receiving it the way I want. Communication is greater than me just verbalizing. I have to be able to figure out how to persuade someone and understand how people listen, take in information, and then how I can get them to the output that I’m hoping for.

Liz Tinkham (14:52):
Was there a special course there on how to deal with teenagers and early 20 year olds?

Angela Jones (14:58):
I think that person would be rich.

Liz Tinkham (15:01):
Yeah, exactly. That was a lost course chapter, but anyway, keep going, sorry.

Angela Jones (15:06):
But that also shaped my leadership theory. And so how I lead is tied to how I amplify my voice. All of that was happening as I was moving through these different seasons of life, these different positions, and so getting to this point at Eastern…And again, I’m always looking at what’s your superpower. You have a lot of power as the chief of staff, you have the president’s ear and the president has the ultimate decision-making power. And so again, having to understand that, okay, now it’s not just about making sure people are hearing me, it’s really about making sure people are hearing the needs of the students, and then how does that translate because I also had to think about the needs of faculty and staff that are serving those students. So trying to figure out how you balance amplification of voices meant that I had to be able to move through many different constituencies and build trust. That became a part of that amplification, is also having the trust and the relationship. So it’s all coming together to form how I lead and move through the world.

Liz Tinkham (16:12):
Yeah. And you said to me that you really learned to use data to amplify your voice as well.

Angela Jones (16:18):
Oh, yeah. And I love data. I geek out on data. Because for some people, again, it’s how they take in information, some people are fine taking in anecdotal qualitative information, the story, others need to see some factual things and some need both.

Liz Tinkham (16:34):
Yeah. I’ve certainly encountered that in my career as well. So I’ve said this to you before, it always strikes me that your next move given where you’re at would be to become a university president, why didn’t you pursue that path?

Angela Jones (16:47):
I’m not sure that path is completely dead, but it’s not in this season where I’m supposed to be. Again, I love thinking about systems and how do I connect all the systems, and so right now I’m looking at education and how do you connect all of the components that form the education systems of the State of Washington. And then think nationally. How are we connected? Preschools through K-12 through colleges, or through the employers.

Liz Tinkham (17:22):
And so the STEM opportunity presents itself last year to become the CEO of Washington STEM. And again, you had said to me during the interviews, looking at all the systems and being able to connect things as opposed to just being able to look at things at Eastern or at Spokane but to look across the state and again having a bigger impact.

Angela Jones (17:44):
Yeah. I wanted that bigger impact and I recognized it, because my parents asked the same question, “You poised your head towards the presidency, why would you leave now?” And again, I’ll never close the door to it, but I also felt like Washington STEM gave me opportunities to learn some things that in the future, maybe 10 years from now, that would actually make me a better president.

Liz Tinkham (18:11):
And what’s been the biggest difference that you’ve seen in going from, well, multiple educational institutions to running Washington STEM, a fairly large nonprofit here in the State?

Angela Jones (18:25):
One of the things that has been a challenge is, when you’re on a college campus, that’s your learning community and it’s like a small city, but you have the ability to think about the culture of that and figure out how to influence that because it is somewhat insulated. At Washington STEM, we are so connected to various, I would say small cities, school districts, colleges, universities, employers…it’s really challenging to figure out how to build that learning community. And then also knowing that at Eastern Washington University I had a staff of about 175 when you include some of the students. At Washington STEM, I have a small but mighty staff of 20. And to be able to lift the work is a bit differently. Resources are different when you’re going from a state institution to a nonprofit. Those are some of the biggest challenges having to consider how you fund that work.

Liz Tinkham (19:23):
Right. Yeah, because it’s a year to year thing to get our donations. And what about being a CEO? What’s been the biggest change there?

Angela Jones (19:30):
The biggest change here is going from being the advisor that’s staffing somebody up, to being the one being staffed up. When I first started as CEO, I had four chiefs who are on my executive team and they would ping me with notes like, “Hey, don’t forget this. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget this.” And I thought, “Well, why do they keep reminding me? Do they think that I can’t do this?” And I was like, “Oh, it’s their job. Angela, you were the same person. It’s their job to remind you.”

Liz Tinkham (20:04):
It’s right.

Angela Jones (20:07):
And so I’ve had to learn to be like, “Angela, they’re your four chief advisors, just like you were a chief advisor.” That was the hardest shift to make. The other piece was realizing like, oh… The first moment where I went, “Oh, they’re all staring at me because this is my decision to make. Oh, got it.” I can’t turn around and see somebody else behind me going, “What do you think about that?” It’s like, “No, make the decision.”

Liz Tinkham (20:29):
Right. The buck stops with you.

Angela Jones (20:30):
Yeah.

Liz Tinkham (20:37):
I would suspect that some of our listeners, because they’re thinking of their third act, might be thinking about making the change from corporate education, whatever they’re in, to running a nonprofit. And I’m going to ask for your advice. I will say that I don’t think it’s an easy leap at all because of the systems work you have to do and not being able to control everything. I mean, what advice might you give people who are listening if they’re contemplating making this move?

Angela Jones (21:11):
Well, that is a really big question. Part of it is understanding that as a nonprofit, it is very different from running a business. And that was even a leap for me because an institution the size of Eastern does run much like a business, and thinking about the how and the why is a little bit different. And so as much as I really would love like a weekly meeting where I’m like, all right, tell me my numbers, run me through this, run me through that, where are we at in our goals, it’s a much different way of having to think about how we move partners forward in the work.

Angela Jones (21:51):
And we have a lot of nonprofit partners that are focused on equity and justice and we’re having to figure how we bring in policy and some of the business norms that do need to still happen so that you stay afloat. And so thinking about the lens, nonprofits are often working towards some form of justice, whether it’s a social issue like homelessness or for us it’s education reform, and that’s a bit different lens. Even though corporations do have philanthropic arms to it, it’s still very different in how you run a nonprofit organization.

Liz Tinkham (22:28):
In my observation watching you, because I think you’re really very skilled at doing this, it’s so nuanced. When you are in business, you think about building stakeholder management. It’s critical to any decision making in business and you spend years figuring out how to do that with your clients or your teams, but then it’s the same but even harder, I think in the nonprofit world, because the objectives are not necessarily so clearly laid out, like financial objectives where you have to hit your numbers and here, we’re trying to move students toward credential attainment, which is a multiple step process that involves so many different components and a lot of humans, right?

Angela Jones (23:20):
Yes.

Liz Tinkham (23:20):
And when I… Really humans, parents and kids and teachers and unions and people who may or may not act rationally and it’s a lot different. It’s a lot harder, I think.

Angela Jones (23:33):
And generations of barriers, right?

Liz Tinkham (23:35):
Yes. And I should’ve mentioned that. Generations of barriers, some of which are really weird and I mean, just stupid stuff. Just so stupid that you look at it… You and I will look at something and go, “Oh, my gosh, you think the state could fix that, right?”

Angela Jones (23:51):
Yeah. And I’ll give a tangible example of a huge difference. So when I was a vice-president of… I held two vice presidencies at Eastern as well. And so when I was leading student affairs, every morning, like before I got out of bed, I would pick up my work phone and I would look at my numbers in terms of student recruitment, admissions, and enrollment. That’s what I lived by every single day. Is my team bringing the numbers in. That’s not the same thing I can do when I wake up at Washington STEM. We’re trying to get students in Washington to earn credentials, whether it’s apprenticeships, two year degrees, four year degrees, and I can’t measure that necessarily on a daily basis. I can’t measure that progress in the same way.

Liz Tinkham (24:40):
And you now have a much bigger voice in the state. So just for our listeners who don’t live in Washington, similar probably to lots of states, there’s definitely a rural and urban divide that here is very geographic because there’s Western Washington, which is King County and Seattle and all of its suburbs, and then there’s sort of the rest of the states sort of East of the Cascade Mountains. You’ve moved from Eastern Washington over to Western Washington although you’re from here, and now you’ve got this big voice because you’re also a member of the black coalition here. You’ve taken on more responsibilities. So your voice has gotten bigger. How did you get into that? How has that been?

Angela Jones (25:21):
Sure. I mean, I think that’s important, and thanks for the reminder that you’ve got listeners from all over the place.

Liz Tinkham (25:27):
We do. Hello to our listeners from out of state. Yeah.

Angela Jones (25:30):
Right. But for people to recognize that the largest percentage of the population lives in the smallest part of the State of Washington along the I-5 Corridor. I lived in Eastern Washington for 30 years and one of the biggest frustrations, which also kind of goes back to your earlier question, why make the leap to Washington STEM back to Seattle, I also wanted to amplify the voice of Eastern Washington. Because the capital is on the Western side of the state, King County is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful counties which houses the city of Seattle, and I wanted to make sure that folks over here understood the plight of the whole State of Washington. And so that’s what I love is that Washington STEM is a statewide organization where I can reach in every region.

Angela Jones (26:16):
And in doing so I have also learned about the plight of the black community which is near and dear to my heart as well having grown up as a black woman in America. Had the opportunity to meet some folks from across the state and say, “How do we help black communities to build an infrastructure to make sure that we’re empowering our communities?” And so we actually started the Black Future Co-op Fund in June, quite frankly in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. And so with that tragedy understanding how do we empower ourselves to make things better? We can’t always wait on a system, and so how do we help students understand credential attainment? How do we help our communities understand civic engagement? There are four of us that started this from King County, Pierce County, I’m in Snohomish County, and then my voice at the table is also a representation of the Eastern Washington Community.

Liz Tinkham (27:14):
You’re double heading, yeah.

Angela Jones (27:15):
Yeah. And so that’s… It’s been awesome actually to have a seat at many tables, not just for the Black Future Co-op Fund, but just as an educator.

Liz Tinkham (27:27):
Now your voice is strategically aggressive.

Angela Jones (27:30):
Yes.

Liz Tinkham (27:32):
What does that mean?

Angela Jones (27:33):
That means I’m not necessarily coming in with a flamethrower at full throttle. Maybe just a little bit of the light is on that I’m still firm in my convictions, but coming in using a lot more inquiry, asking questions first before I throw a grenade and helping people explain and checking my understanding. Because maybe I’m misunderstanding or maybe they’re miscommunicating and there is a way to clear things up and understand whether or not we’re reaching towards them.

Liz Tinkham (28:04):
I think I take two lessons from what I listened to you. One is how you’ve shaped your voice, and I didn’t even know about your master’s in communication which is very useful. Everybody should go and do something like that because it is so hard to learn how to use your voice correctly and be persuasive and not be a flamethrower, which I think most of us have probably passed through that stage in our life at one point or the other. So there’s that, the shaping of that, but there’s also you looking at impact and how you, Angela, can have an impact on things getting bigger and bigger. And as I think about third acts and people who are maybe done with their jobs or their big career jobs and are thinking, how can I make a big impact? I mean, any thinking or advice there to folks and how they might strategically think about that? I know I’m throwing you a question I didn’t have scripted, but I know you.

Angela Jones (29:10):
No, that’s okay. I mean, because that impact, it does start with you; what is it you actually want? What’s the imprint you actually want to leave on this earth? And that’s a question I’ve asked myself honestly in elementary school. I was a bit of an old soul and I was always thinking about how to leave the earth a better place than I found it. And my newest question, and sometimes, Liz, I get tired of amplifying, and so one of the newest questions I’ve been asking myself over the past six months, and I’m going to blog about that probably today, is how do I make sure I’m being a good ancestor?

Angela Jones (29:53):
There are days I get tired where I’m like, “Why do I always have to amplify? Why am I always the amplifier?” And then I think, “Because it’s your superpower, Angela.” And when you get tired you can rest, but a hundred years from now, is somebody going to benefit from the work that you’ve done? If you keep going, probably. And I may not ever know, I won’t know if I’m being a good ancestor or not, but my hope is I’m making the decisions now to do that.

Liz Tinkham (30:21):
That’s a great way to look at things. Yeah, fantastic. So I know you’re not done yet because you and I talk about it all the time. You’ve got a fourth, a fifth act, as you think about it, I mean, is there, and I know you don’t know what that’s going to be, but any roles or platforms that stand out to you or opportunities that as you think strategically about continuing to make an impact that you’re headed towards or you might want to obtain?

Angela Jones (30:50):
Yeah. I mentioned earlier that I haven’t completely shut the door to a university presidency. But one of the things I’ve really been thinking about is again, how do I continue to make that systemic impact? And I’ve been fascinated recently, even since you and I initially first talked about doing this, about what it would actually feel like to be a funder.

Liz Tinkham (31:14):
Yeah, to actually give the money away.

Angela Jones (31:16):
Yes. I never sat at that table. But again to strategically fund and to have the resources to make the connections. Right now at Washington STEM, we’re trying to help create this system, but we have to rely on funders to fund the work. Imagine if I could have some role as a funder that understood what systems level work look like and actually funded it that way. Because oftentimes people fund programs which are necessary but then they don’t think about the underlying systems that keep those programs going. So I’ve no idea what that would look like, but it would be incredible to be able to have that role.

Liz Tinkham (32:00):
Maybe Mackenzie Bezos needs you.

Angela Jones (32:02):
Right? Like shout out, anybody on who’s listening who knows Mackenzie, give a shout out for you girl.

Liz Tinkham (32:07):
Yeah, exactly. So where can we find you online?

Angela Jones (32:12):
You know, I actually have a blog and it’s called CEO ARJ. I’m talking to myself, because this is all about lessons learned.

Liz Tinkham (32:21):
I’ve read it. Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes. It’s great.

Angela Jones (32:24):
Yeah. And so I don’t-

Liz Tinkham (32:26):
You talking to yourself, I love that.

Angela Jones (32:27):
Yeah. I actually went to executive bootcamp before I took this role and there’s just so many things I didn’t learn because you have to learn them when you’re sitting in the seat. And so I’ve been writing about them. And I haven’t written in months because, just a warning to your listeners, I blog when I’m moved to blog. I am not an ‘every Tuesday you’re going to see a new thing,’ but I keep things up because hopefully somebody finds something interesting in there as we move through this crazy world. Then as we head into 2021, my son and I are doing visioning boards tonight, he’s 14 years old, and then I’m going to do some blogging about… Last year I wrote a personal strategic plan and so I’m going to talk about how it went this year. But ceoarj.com and of course, washingtonstem.org is my the only vision that I lead.

Liz Tinkham (33:17):
Right. And always as I’m on the board, lovely, fantastic organization, if you want to check that out. Okay. We’re recording this on New Year’s eve of 2020, so happy new year to you and to DJ and as always I look forward to working with you in 2021. And I hope that you will come back to the podcast. I keep saying that Angela is going to be the next governor of Washington, or maybe not the next one, but the one after that. So when you are the governor of Washington, I hope you won’t forget about Third Act.

Angela Jones (33:48):
I will not forget. And I appreciate you letting me process at the end and this is a great way for me to kick off 2021.

Liz Tinkham (33:57):
Yeah. Well, anyway, thanks so much Angela, and happy new year.

Angela Jones (33:59):
Happy new year to you. Thanks, Liz.

Liz Tinkham (34:04):
Thanks for joining me today to listen to the Third Act Podcast. You can find show notes, guest bios, and more at thirdactpodcast.com. If you enjoyed our show today, please subscribe and write a review on your favorite podcast platform. I’m your host, Liz Tinkham. I’ll be back next week with another guest who’s found new meaning and fulfillment in the third act of their life.

Get featured on Third Act

Want to share the story of your own Third Act on our podcast? We welcome stories from executives who pivoted their careers to find their passion and purpose later in their lives. Tell us more about yourself to be considered as a guest.