We had the good fortune of connecting with Dallas Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dallas, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I come from a family of entrepreneuers. Ever since I was born I can remember my grandparents in rural Louisiana getting up daily and going to work for themselves. When I graduated from college I went to work for a number of different legislative bodies, including members of the United States Congress, Texas House of Representatives, and Texas Senate. Working in these arenas gave me great insight into the moving parts of making public policy work and changing communities. Coming from an entrepreneurial spirit I felt there was a need for more people of color to exist in the consultant space. When we think of careers in politics we often think of running for political office. While there is never a shortage of individuals offering themselves for public service there was a clear shortage of African American political consultants and lobbyists. I thought it important to look to change that as these particular careers are an important part of the process. From there almost 15 years ago Elite Change Inc. was born and is alive and well.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Elite Change Inc. is a public and government affairs firm who’s focus is to empower leaders at all levels in today’s environment. For us that means guided by our values we aim to make transformative change in communities by first insuring they have competent and honest leadership. We look to promote political candidates that will uphold the values of our communities and lead with a progressive mindset to help move us forward. We believe in working with corporations and non-profits to maneuver through the often cumbersome challenges of bureaucracy to create solutions that will improve lives. The road to build Elite Change Inc. like any business has surely come with it’s fair share of challenges. What I have learned as the years go by is that it doesn’t get any easier, but that you have to learn from both mistakes and failures. Often times we focus on our failures in business and what we could have done better, but it’s also appropriate to look at the accomplishments that you reached. These are a constant reminder of what it is possible, and to keep moving at all costs to continue to deliver and meet your goals. There will always be giants in the land, and in the case of politics snakes that would look to dim your light. You have to stay true to your mission, your goals, and remember why you started the journey to begin with. For me, the people are the prize. People may often not want to give you flowers for your work, which is why you don’t do it for flowers. But if you can help just one person through that work, then none of it is in vein. This is what I believe.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well I like to consider myself a great ambassador for Houston, TX. anytime I have friends from out of the city to visit. As they say, ” I put on for my city.” Since I just turned 40 I believe my agenda has changed over the years but Houston has so much to offer. I would probably start with breakfast at The Breakfast Klub here in Houston. Of course much of our dwelling would be in the 3rd Ward community where I reside, The Turkey Leg Hut or Bar 5015 are always a great place for a cocktail, delicious food, and beautiful people. A round of golf at one of our city’s beautiful parks but most likely Hermann Park tends to be my course of choice. Next we would probably grab a dinner at some point in the East End at Ninfa’s or El Tiempo. Take in a show at one of the great theaters in the Houston Theater District. A visit to the galleria is a must and all of the amazing restaurants in that area. And of course the trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to my favorite place in Houston, The Fountain of Praise, where my family and I worship and service our community. All of this means I’m definitely getting old lol.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been so many influences and organizations that have been inspirational and life changing for me. I can definitely attribute much of what I have accomplished to my involvement with the NAACP. I first got involved during college and went on to serve as my chapter President. It was through the NAACP that I had my first exposure to lobbying work when I was afforded the opportunity to lobby for the NAACP Washington Bureau under the leadership of the incomparable Hilary Shelton, the organizations long time chief lobbyist. Hilary gave me a chance that really thrust me into the rest of my life. Then there were people like US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee who gave me my first shot out of college and has remained a true friend. State Rep. Garnet Coleman first introduced me to the Texas Capitol and how to pass legislation or kill it. He also taught me along with the legend Keith Wade. These two men taught me more than I could have ever learn from a book. Of course County Commissioner, then Senate Rodney Ellis, who taught me so much about life, growing up in politics, and the obligations of honest leadership to improve the lives of people. Most importantly, my grandparents Alvin and Monitta Jones, who taught be the value of hard work, always believed and invested in me, and refused to let me fail. For that I am always grateful.
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