Whaddaya Think, Russ Jones?

By Posted in - Whaddaya Think Wednesday on November 16th, 2011

Whaddaya Think Wednesday is a regular Q&A feature on the Clairemont blog. We ask people “whaddaya think?” on a variety of topics. This week, we share thoughts from Russ Jones, who in addition to being the president of Davidson and Jones Corporation, is a generous sponsor and active volunteer for Triangle Family Services’ (TFS) Gingerbread Benefit  that will be held at the Umstead Hotel on Thursday, December 1.

Gingerbread houses from last year's event. This year's benefit is December 1 at the Umstead.

Q: How did you get involved in the Gingerbread Benefit?

I attended the event with my daughters last year. They are five and seven, so the kids’ event was pretty thrilling for them, as they got to make their own gingerbread houses. I really didn’t know what TFS was all about.  At that event, I met a lot of great people, and I had an opportunity to meet with Alice Lutz.

I later had the opportunity to further discuss TFS with Alice, and she asked if I would help her with this year’s event. I was a little reluctant, because I knew it would be a big time commitment.  Ultimately, I decided to help in any way possible because I feel that this organization is just too important to our community.  Right before I made my decision, I encountered a newly homeless person in the parking lot of one of my businesses.  It was right then that I realized how quickly someone can go from stable to vulnerable to homeless.  It happens to too many people every day.

TFS is one of a few organizations in our community that form the “safety net” to help those in our community who need a “hand up” to get back on their feet.  Families in crisis today do not have many places to turn, and I just couldn’t imagine what would happen to them if TFS was NOT around.  Given the state of the world today, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our community is a safe and wonderful place to live.

Q: What’s the most exciting/rewarding/fun thing about serving on the planning committee for the Gingerbread Benefit?

Wow, there have been a lot of rewards from working with TFS, and it’s hard to choose.  Ultimately, for me, I am someone who is enthralled by business processes and corporate culture/messaging.  Because of that, I have really enjoyed working with Alice on ways to get out the message about TFS so that people can easily understand how important the organization is.

Along those same lines, I’ve enjoyed my business discussions with Alice. TFS is really lucky to have someone so dedicated running the business. As a CPA, I  enjoy seeing how focused she is on delivering the utmost values of the company and equally focused on cutting costs everywhere else. As a donor (I manage my late grandfather Seby Jones’ Charitable Foundation), I appreciate knowing that my contributions are being spent wisely.

Q: When you aren’t helping plan the Triangle’s most important fundraiser of the year, what are you doing?

My wife Chelsea and I are really enjoying our two daughters.  I hear from so many people that I should savor these moments, and I’ve actually arranged my schedule to allow for as much “kid-time” as possible.

Work-wise, I am the president of Davidson and Jones Corporation, a real estate development and management company working across a broad spectrum of asset classes through affiliated companies.  It’s a pretty diverse job that has me working with our hotel company on new management opportunities in the same day that I am working with my home builder on selling a new home.  It’s really pretty thrilling.

I am also passionate about EVOLVE Movement, a Mind-Body Fitness company with three locations in the Triangle area.  My wife Chelsea is an amazing leader of that company, and I’m just lucky to have a seat at the table (and a mat in the yoga room!).

Thank you, Russ! The Clairemont team enjoys collaborating with you to help Triangle Family Services, and as a result, so many families in our area. We also love EVOLVE! Congrats to Chelsea on her success!

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