University College alumnus Indaria Jones, founder and CEO of The Creators Lounge in downtown Syracuse is an award-winning marketing and business development executive who has thoughtfully created a members only co-working space that serves as an epicenter for business, culture, and community. It has has become a place to share ideas, projects, collaborate and grow on and offline. During the pandemic, which called for innovation around co-working remotely, she created imaginative and effective virtual spaces and conversations which have inspired and motivated so many members of the community. She also quickly mobilized to become a central resource and information-sharing center, building databases and resources such as Lounge Links, a digital hotline delivering content, connections, and community during the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Black Lives Matter movement grew across the country, she quickly went to work creating positive messages of self-empowerment, and this week is launching a new initiative to support Black-owned businesses. “This is more than a challenge,” says Jones. “As we #buyblack let’s look at how we can intentionally support Black-owned businesses every single day.” She points out that of the $1.2 trillion dollars spend annually, only 3% of that economic power goes to Black-owned businesses. Moreover, she notes that only 40% will recover from COVID-19 shutdowns. “But we can actively change that. Let’s adopt buying from Black-owned businesses into our daily lives.”
She has launched a social directory which gathered more than 200 businesses in 20 days, with a goal of generating economic activity in the local Black-owned business community, starting with Buy Black Fridays at 12 pm on FB Live. “Elections happen every 2 to 4 years, but we vote with our dollars every single day. The time is now.”
Jones is a leading creative thinker, influencer and innovative community builder. As CEO of The Creators Lounge, she has created a collaborative gathering space for other entrepreneurs and community leaders, utilizing and sharing her extensive experience in brand management, public relations, and event programming and production. She also puts her skills in operations, project management, strategic planning, organizing and team management to work as the Economic Development Specialist to Mayor Ben Walsh and the City of Syracuse, helping to catalyze city-wide revitalization.
Jones has been an active member of the LaunchPad community, and worked with CLLCTVE founder Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G ’20 (Whitman), Guided by Obas founder Anthony Obas ’20 (Whitman), Black Cub Productions co-founders Eric Jackson ’16 and G’17 (Newhouse) and Mylze Blake G’18 and SDKing Media founder Sharif D. King G’20, as well as City of Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens ’85 (Economics) on this spring’s Afropreneurship Summit hosted by the LaunchPad.
A recognized civic leader, she’s been a host of print and digital platforms, including Forbes, The Black Upstart, Los Angeles Indie Creator Society, ABC News Channel 9, Syracuse.com, and Business Journal News Network. This year she was honored at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislation for her Leadership and Economic Development Achievements. She also received various awards such as New York State Senate, 2019 Commendation Award, 40 Under Forty, Nominated Minority Business of the Year, as well the 2019 Economic Champion.
Read more about Indaria in this wonderful profile by Stan Linhorst who writes weekly Conversations on Leadership and works on other projects to make Syracuse and Central New York a great place to live. Linhorst moved to Syracuse from San Diego in 1984 as City Editor of The Post-Standard, went to “New Media,” launching Syracuse.com in ’94, and became Senior Managing Editor of The Post-Standard in ’99. He is a member of the iSchool Advisory Council. https://www.syracuse.com/news/2019/09/indaria-jones-on-leadership-be-authentic-be-open-minded-help-others-to-succeed.html