FEATURED /// Feb 24, 2023
Black History Month at ADS
Don’t be afraid.
That’s the first thing that comes to Jasmine Jones‘ mind when she’s asked what kind of advice she would give to young African Americans trying to break into the defense industry.
It’s Black History Month, and as an African American woman who has now worked in both law enforcement and the defense industry, Jasmine knows what it feels like to be the “the other” in a workplace that doesn’t often look like her.
“Don’t be afraid,” Jasmine said. “I’m the minority, so there was that fear and I held back for a long time. But people are very open to helping you no matter what you look like. I experienced that in law enforcement and at ADS. People are more open to being diverse nowadays. So ask a lot of questions and try not to get in your head about how you look. Just go for it. Be a hard charger.”
That’s exactly what Jasmine has done. She joined the company two years ago after working as a Virginia Beach police officer. Before that, she was an Old Dominion University (ODU) graduate with an international studies degree and a part-time job standing up to shoplifters at TJ Maxx. Don’t be afraid, indeed.
Jasmine joined ADS as an Inside Account Manager – Air Force, and last November was promoted to Army Foreign Military Sales - Program Manager, a challenging new role filled with big programmatic-level orders and multimillion-dollar contracts.
When she first arrived at ADS, Jasmine remembers being just one of a few black inside reps. Now that’s changing, she said, as the company puts a focus on workforce diversity.
“I love the team and there’s good rapport,” she said. “If you work hard, they’re going to take care of you and have your back.”
Jasmine meets with her manager for biweekly one-on-ones and has a development plan in place with goals for professional growth over the next 5 years.
Role models have been essential to her career journey, she said.
There was Courtney Anderson, her former manager at ADS, who was always a trusted source of advice, counsel and help, and recommended her for the new role.
There was Carla Baldeo, a former Newport News Sheriff's deputy and the only other African American woman officer in Jasmine’s police academy class, who she relied on heavily during both the academy and as an officer on the street.
And there was her mom and grandmother, who both always encouraged her to “go for it, break through ceilings, be a hard charger.”
Don’t be afraid.
Congratulations on the well-deserved promotion, Jasmine. We’re so proud to have you on the team.