Fatima Jones is an innovative cultural strategist, marketing, public relations, and reputation management leader with more than 20 years of experience. She is The Apollo's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, leading all integrated marketing and communications, including advertising, social media, press, audience development, and design. Fatima can be reached on LinkedIn @FatimaJones.
We spoke with Fatima about the impact of The Apollo’s presence in Harlem, the continuation of arts, youth professional development and navigating the unique challenges of minority women in executive positions.
How does your current role impact Harlem’s Culture? What impact do you wish to have in your current role?
The Apollo is a jewel in the crown that is Harlem and a beacon for people all around the world. It is my responsibility to keep that jewel sparkling and make sure we remain relevant, exciting and responsive to what is happening in the world.
I am excited about being a part of extending The Apollo campus from just the Historic Theater with two new small stages in the Victoria building just a few steps away. It will be an exciting opportunity for artists who are making work more appropriate for a smaller space and for audiences to see more emerging theater, music and dance.
Can you speak to the importance of supporting the arts?
The arts can spark change and lift you up. It can encourage new ways of thinking. Music can change the energy in a room, it can transport you. Think about your favorite song and how you feel when it’s played... that’s what art can do.
Please let us know of any projects you currently lead with a community impact.
I am really proud of the work The Apollo’s Education department does every day, offering free to low-cost school time shows, paid internships and fellowships and offering career development for high school students.
What advice would you give to young professionals looking to build a career in the arts, community development and civic engagement?
I would encourage young professionals to find a mentor or ally in the field. It’s better to do this work in community. Join an association, become a member, volunteer.
You joined The Apollo in 2019 What project or achievements are you most proud of
And what makes your business/role unique?
I am proud of the walk of fame I produced for Mary J. Blige last year. I immensely proud of seeing thousands of people in the audience having a great time every week with Amateur Night and other Apollo produced programming like “The Gathering” or “The Blues and Its People”. The theater is a place where people leave their cares at the door and it’s an honor to be a part of that experience. It’s also gratifying to be part of a Black women-led organization. One unique honor I have is programming the marquee.
Can you speak to any challenges/barriers as a minority woman in an executive position and how did you overcome them?
I am sure there were barriers that people tried to put in my way, but I try to only see opportunity. My positive mindset has been a key factor in my growth. As well as a strong support system. My husband, daughter, family members and Sorority sisters of Sigma Gamma Rho who believe in me and hold me up when I feel down.
What advice do you have for other minority women executives?
My biggest piece of advice is never stop learning. What are you reading? What are you listening to? What words do you speak to yourself and others? Whose corner are you in?
What’s your favorite hidden gem in Harlem?
I love going to the Schomburg. Not hidden but I love their programming.
Fun fact: She spent two years working in London and loves to visit museums.