BWOPA Member Yolanda Jones Turns Personal Tragedy into Professional Triumph

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Like many people, Yolanda Jones has undergone a fair share of personal tragedy. She was a victim of domestic violence for 14 years while also working to raise her disabled son who was has cerebral palsy.

Though her two daughters were able to attain master’s degrees, she had one son incarcerated, and her youngest son was killed in 2010.

< p>But Jones was determined: she knew she had to keep pushing. While it seemed more feasible to apply for a driver position at San Francisco Muni, she took the $200 she had left after burying her son to purchase a business license to start Yolanda’s Construction and Traffic Control.

She heard that President Obama was putting money into infrastructure and was setting aside money for small and women-owned business, and that is what inspired her to start her own company.

After 20 years of experience in office administration and working for her family’s trucking business (Charlie Walker Trucking), she knew she had the skills and expertise needed to run a successful company.

There was a need for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) companies within the area, so she used her knowledge to leverage the market opportunity, providing quality services where there was a high demand for women small-owned DBE firms.

After relocating her family from Hunter’s Point to Richmond, she found the need in the communities to be similar. She opened a second office in Richmond in 2012.

Her company has since been on the rise, offering a range of administrative and traffic control services to support public and private sector clients on engineering-construction projects. The company has also grown from two employees to i12 employees with projects throughout Northern California.

In 2012, San Francisco Small Business Network named her company the Small Business of the Year, and in 2013 the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. named her Business Leader of the Year.

Now, as a Richmond BWOPA proud member and as an Ambassador for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Jones is proud to be working toward a future in Richmond.

Her philosophy is that you can be whoever you want to be in life. All you have to remember is you have to get up, dust your self off and never count yourself out of what life has to offer you.

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