Posted: October 08, 2012
GenXYZ Top Five: Madolyn Jones, Resolution Research
Denver native and USC grad returns home to build something biggerBy Lisa Ryckman
Resolution Research CEO Nina Nichols wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Madolyn Jones, her nominee for one of Colorado’s Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals, is not – repeat, not – for hire.
"She’s phenomenal," says Nichols, who brought Jones on board less than a year ago as director of research. "She works very autonomously and pulls resources from wherever necessary to make the project happen and never gives up – a sign of a true entrepreneur."
Jones, 28, is also a true Denver girl, born and raised in Five Points, the fifth child of six and one of the first to go to college.
"Education was a big deal to my parents – my mom didn’t go to college, my dad didn’t go to college," Jones says. "Education was very important to my mom as a way to provide her children with a better life. So I took it very seriously."
After East High School, Jones chose the University of Southern California, which proved to be a challenge on a number of levels.
"I was a public school-educated kid going to a very elite college, and it was a rough transition," she says. "It took a lot of work."
Another part of the challenge and the workload: the selective progressive degree program that allowed her to graduate in five years with both an undergraduate degree and a Master’s in Urban Planning & Economic Development.
"While I was in school, I worked for developers who were developing downtown Los Angeles," Jones says. "I quickly decided that if I wanted to build a city and be part of something bigger, I wanted to go home."
Back in Denver, she worked at BBC Research & Consulting as an associate for 4 1/2 years before taking her current job last February.
"At Resolution Research, Madolyn has taken her career success to the next level," Nichols says. "She has built a network of colleagues, peers and mentors that is unmatched."
That probably has something to do with advice from a mentor that Jones took to heart: "Leaders know leaders across the country. Keep networking!"
These days, Jones’ byword is "balance" – something she hopes to find more of as she juggles work, family commitments and volunteerism. She’s passionate about the mentoring she does with girls, and the work of the Denver Health Foundation Level One Society, whose current campaign is called Beyond the Stigma.
"That’s the adolescent mental health piece, and getting the word out, particularly in my own community, where mental health issues are not typically talked about," Jones says.
Between working out – she just ran her first 5K – and hanging with her large extended family, Jones also makes time to volunteer for political campaigns and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce.
And for fun?
"My life is fun. Everything I do is fun," says Jones, whose exuberance seems grounded in the advice she gives younger people.
"You’re never going to get there: It’s always an evolution," Jones says. "When you’re 25 or 28 or 40, there will always be something else to do. Embrace that."
Lisa Ryckman is the online editor at cobizmag.com.