Spotlight Feature

Mikayla Jones

Step into your light unapologetically and authentically you; lean in to what feels right for your soul but be prepared to work for it and be kind to everyone!

Tell Us About


I'm Mikayla Jones

Age: 27

Occupation: Senior Programme Manager

Professional/Sector Specialism: Third Sector, Youth Leadership Development, Social Mobility

Company: UpRising Birmingham


Which inspirational quote sums you up?

"Be the change you want to see in the world" – by Gandhi.  I believe it has to start with you and we must always live authentically as yourself!


Where are you from? 

I am proudly Brummie born, raised, educated and employed. I have been fortunate enough that the opportunities I have wanted have been available here.


I believe there is so much opportunity and potential in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands and I am proud to call this city home!

Tell us a little bit about your personal and career journey (early years until now)?

I have always worked in the third sector in terms of my career, however, I'd developed my fundamental people skills way back in my retail days whilst still at school and throughout university.


I graduated with Honours at the University of Birmingham with a Social Policy BA, with aspirations of becoming a teacher.


I decided working with young people outside of the class room would be more up my street. I worked for social action charities’ “The Challenge” and “Envision” before I started my work at UpRising as the Programme Coordinator.


I am delighted to say that four years later I have progressed into the role of Senior Programme Manager and I'm responsible for looking after our employability and leadership initiatives in the city as well as building the relationships we have in Birmingham.

Tell us more about what interests you?

I really enjoy meeting new people and learning more about stuff I don’t know. I am a proud Young Professional Board Member of TAG Network Midlands where I get to meet a lot of amazing people by doing such varied and interesting things in the region.


I am also a committee member for Birmingham Civic Society supporting the Citizenship committee and I have recently began a project with the “Enrol Yourself: Learning Marathon” which is an amazing peer led accelerator programme where twelve people explore a question they are interested in for six months. My question is around building/creating a platform for black women to heal and grow together, there are questions around data, around death and grief and leadership potential within marginalised groups. It’s a great opportunity to learn. You can usually see me enjoying a Podcast or audio book these days, this year I’ve really gotten into them!

What have been the best part of 2018 for you so far?

Through my experiences I have become more confident in my future and that feeling has been awesome!


My confidence has grown massively and my relationships have flourished because of that.

What are your career goals & aspirations?

One day I’d like to return to my policy roots and positively affect education policy. It does not sit right with me that your whole life can pan out so differently depending on what area you are born in and what kind of teachers a school has.

I’d love to work in the change management sector, supporting people and organisations to make sustainable systematic changes necessary.

If we are talking true 'blue sky thinking' I’d love my own talk show one day, interviewing successful people to build understanding and knowledge for more people to step into their own excellence! Imagine if we all knew the formula of how to reach our full potential!

What challenges do you face on a daily basis?

Time is a myth! There never seems to be enough time, I’d love to be one of those people that can manage my time super efficiently but instead I’m like a magpie that get distracted by all of the shiny interesting things and people around me so I never feel as though I have enough time!

Can you tell us what is your most favourite aspect of your role?

Being a connector. I work with young people that have amazing potential and may not have the confidence just yet.


I have the opportunity to put them in front of a professional or another young person and see their confidence grow because of that interaction. It is also common for a senior leader to approach me to express the need for new staff and I can introduce them to our fantastic Uprising Birmingham alumni that are so bright and want that opportunity. I enjoy puzzles and connecting people and organisations that need to be connected but don’t know it yet, which is amazing to be a part of!

What has been your greatest career milestone to date?

Becoming the decision maker for the programme that taught me so much personally.

What makes you ‘unique’?

What people say is a unique thing about me is the “Mikayla hugs” I give. I know I’m a good hug giver! Others have said its my nature to really see people and ensure people feel heard when they are expressing anything to me.

Who has been your inspiration professionally?

There are so many amazing inspirations that I am also fortunate enough to call friends of mine in the city which include Cheryl Garvey, Anneka Deva and Anisa Haghdadi. These women have shown me what it takes to not only dream big but also put the work in to make stuff happen. This city is lucky to have them all.

What would you like to achieve in the future? 

I want to leave some sort of legacy, I want to play my part in making this world better.


Whether that is connecting people, policy change or I played my part in developing the person that made the changes that improved all of our lives!

What advice or tips of positivity would you like to share with others?
Step into your light unapologetically and authentically you; lean in to what feels right for your soul but be prepared to work for it and be kind to everyone!