On Thursday, Aug. 8 the world-renowned Charles Wright Museum of African American History was presented another cultural icon when it hosted a lavish affair to celebrate the accomplishments of business pioneer Ingrid Saunders Jones. Jones, senior vice president of Global Community Connections and chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation was honored by peers, family and friends for her distinguished career and her remarkable role as an advocate for creating educational and business opportunities for African Americans the world-over but more specifically in her hometown of Detroit. The noted Coca Cola Company executive is retiring after 31 years, with the company effective June 1.
Following opening remarks from NAACP president Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony and a litany of praise and appreciation from members of: the Michigan State University Black Alumni Association; sorority sisters from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; the president of the National Black McDonald’s Owners Association, as well as the presidents’ of McDonald’s and the Coca-Cola Company’s McDonald’s Division, Jones took the stage to deliver personal remarks.
“But it is my personal relationship with the McDonald’s family that will stand out most in my mind. It is based on an iconic business partnership – a handshake. McDonald’s and Coke share a special bond in business and we share a special bond in community. And I have been very fortunate to be a part of all of that.”
Jones went on to share a poignant and important moment with guests regarding her breaking through barriers to become the first woman member of one Atlanta’s most prestigious business organizations, the Action Forum. “[The company’s president] said ‘when Ingrid Saunders Jones speaks, she speaks for me and she speaks for me and she speaks for the Coca Cola Company.’ That was the tipping point for me … I am fortunate to have worked with extraordinary leaders, community supporters and caring and committed associates,” said Jones.
The event concluded with an exhibit unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony for a limited-engagement exhibition honoring her life as she moves on to its next chapter – as the volunteer national chair of the National Council of Negro Women.
Lisa M. Borders, the president of the Gray Health Foundation and former Atlanta City Council president, is Jones’ successor. She will assume the position on May 1. –
The Ingrid Saunders Jones: 31 Years of Distinguished Service… and Counting is free with museum admission.