Mautra Staley Jones, M.B.A., Ed.D., is a lifelong educator and devoted academic diplomat, serving as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at Langston University, as well as the executive director of the Langston University Foundation. Additionally, Jones speaks on a variety of topics around Oklahoma and serves in leadership positions for numerous businesses and committees, including as a director of the BancFirst Corporation and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She has also received public recognition and awards for her business acumen and community involvement. We caught up with her and got her thoughts on … 

…her passion for
making a difference.

God blessed me with an incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm and optimism. I suppose I needed those attributes to overcome all the obstacles I’ve faced in life. I strongly believe that my very humble beginnings shaped my life’s work and mission. My grandmother, who raised me as a proud daughter of Ardmore, instilled in me the value of faith, family, fortitude and freedom. I watched her serve as a remarkable example to me and my siblings as the matriarch of our family, and I have always been inspired by her strength, tenacity, dignity and wisdom. I now get to share that same love with my amazing husband and children, who inspire me every single day to be the best version of myself and continue to pursue excellence. We all have a duty to leave this world better than we found it, and that is a notion that has driven my service to our great state.  

… what she’s
looking forward to. 

I have spent the past twenty years transforming lives by ensuring youth from underserved communities have resources and opportunities to pursue their goals and dreams. In this regard, I look forward to continuing to strengthen my leadership. 

I also look forward to serving our state, region and country in a much greater capacity. Given that I have witnessed youth, teens and young adults experience hopelessness and despair due to circumstances they did not create, my heart’s desire is that those same people have the necessary tools and assistance that sets them up for success. I hope to continue inspiring people. The sky is the limit, and I believe it is up to each of us to bless others when we have the time, talent and treasure to effectively do so.  

… her favorite
public speaking topics. 

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As a mother of faith, I am most proud when I get to share about my motherhood journey and my children with audiences. Education is also a real passion of mine, because I have witnessed its transformative power not only in my life, but in those I’ve been blessed to serve. I recently had a chance to provide the keynote address at The Journal Record’s 2021 Woman of the Year event, wherein my message centered around “Am I the victim or the victor: Does the life I choose to lead reflect this chosen path and state of mind?” Sharing about my life is meaningful as it allows me to instill hope, courage and light into others by providing a testimony about my own trials, tribulations and triumphs. 

… lessons she’s learned.

1. Ensure the company’s culture aligns with your values, goals and beliefs. When those things are in alignment, you will more likely than not thrive in that type of environment. 2. Ensure the organization honors and respects your contributions, encourages your growth as a professional and invests in your leadership development. 3. You must be set up for success in order to achieve. 4. The resource allocation reconciles with the expectations and goals. 5. Be fearless in your pursuit of excellence. 6. Do what makes your soul happy. 7. Stay focused on the mission and you can’t go wrong. 8. Know when it is time to transition to greater. 9. Always leave an organization better than you found it. 10. If you want to be the victor, give time in your life only to those that seek your victory.

… the ‘secret’ to balancing
her many commitments.

There is no secret. I’ve learned the key to achieving success is any endeavor is prioritization. My life is far from stress free, but ultimately, I decide where I focus my energy. I’ve learned through the years to avoid negativity at all costs and to strictly focus on the positive.  

… Langton University.

My work at Langston University is always inspiring. I love working with our students, alumni, donors and university community. We operate as a team and family that ensures the mission is advanced in every capacity. No two days look alike. Whether its meeting with donors, leading various initiatives, planning events, preparing reports, visiting with students or strategic planning, my work is very diverse in nature depending on the season. 

… her public recognitions. 

Although the honors I have received from various entities were pleasant surprises, each one is unique and holds a special place in my heart. Being recognized for engaging in work you love to do is simply amazing! When you are passionate about your work, you view work as a labor of love. I have a sense of fulfillment because I know I am walking in my destiny. I hope that each recognition serves as an example to others that anything is possible when you operate with a spirit of sincerity, genuineness and love.