Michele S. Jones is a member of the Senior Executive Service and was appointed under the Obama Administration as the Director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach on January 1, 2012. She is responsible for developing strategies, operational plans, policies and issuing pertinent guidelines and instructions for recruiting, hiring, and retaining women veterans, military spouses and homeless veterans in support of the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative and the First Lady’s Military Families Initiative. She works in concert with the White House on the President’s challenge to the private sector to hire 100,000 Veterans including developing partnerships with private sector entities to support hiring veterans and their families. Specializing and creating innovative relationships with non-traditional entities to educate businesses on the advantages of hiring veterans. Additionally, she serves as the United States Office of Personnel Management liaison and representative on the First Lady’s Joining Forces Initiative. She works jointly with other agencies in continuing the progress of implementing the President’s Executive Order on Veterans Employment in the federal government.
She has held several key positions since joining the Administration, from December 2010- December 2011 she served as the Special Assistant and Senior Advisor to both the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) and the Principal Deputy under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). Her responsibilities included providing advice and assistance on the development of an implementation strategy for Personnel and Readiness for organizational efficiency; providing leadership, strategic thinking and advice on approaches and opportunities to support Veterans, Wounded Warrior III and Injured Programs. She established close and effective relationships throughout the Department of Defense (DoD), Joint Staff, Secretaries of Military and Directors of Defense Agencies and conducts numerous complex and high special assignments of high level subjects critical to DoD. She was selected for a special detail to the United States Office of Personnel Management in support of the President’s Veteran’s Employment Initiative and the First Lady’s Military Families Initiative.
From July 2009 until December 2010 she was the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense White House Liaison. In that capacity she was responsible for the management of the Department of Defense staffing, recruitment, vetting and clearance process for political sensitive positions, boards and commission appointments. She was the Principal DoD contact with the Presidential Personnel Office, White House Military Office and the Principal DoD liaison for the White House Political Affairs Office, the White House Intergovernmental Affairs and the President’s Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jones conducted special projects as determined by the Offices of the President, Vice President, First Lady and other White House Agencies. Additionally she conducted the final review and approval of all OSD, Defense Agency, Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters level consultants and expert actions.
In her military career, she was the 9th Command Sergeant Major (CSM) of the Army Reserve from October 2002 through August 2006. She retired on March 1, 2007 after 25 years of service in both the active and reserve component.
She distinguished herself as being the first woman selected as class president at the United States Sergeants Major Academy (Class 48), the first woman to serve as a division CSM, and culminating as the first woman to serve as the CSM of any of the Army’s Components, Active or Reserve. Prior to her retirement, she held the highest Noncommissioned Officer position of any woman in the Army.
A career Soldier, Ms. Jones held many positions of leadership responsibility from squad leader, section leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major. She has served during every major contingency operation including – Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, Provide Comfort, Joint Endeavor , Nobel Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She toured extensively throughout Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and Uzbekistan.
Ms. Jones has been featured in multiple newspapers and magazines around the world, including Ebony, Jet and was highlighted in Essence Magazine’s Anniversary Edition as 1 of 35 of the World’s Most Remarkable Women. She has appeared on the nationally syndicated Tavis Smiley Show, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Steve Harvey Morning Show and numerous radio stations. Additionally, she has served as a panelist at several universities across the nation and at the “Women Shaping the World Summit” in New York City. Ms. Jones is continuously invited as a keynote speaker for Fortune 500 companies, the military and numerous diverse civilian and non-profit organizations.
She is the 2005 recipient of the NAACP Meritorious Service Award, the only enlisted service member to receive the award in the NAACP history. She was selected to serve as a panelist in 2010 for the Major League Baseball’s Annual Civil Rights Panel and was honored by the Atlanta City Council for Women’s Equality Day. In 2009, she received both the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Inc., Spirit of Democracy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Ford Foundation’s Freedom’s Sister Award, and the Fullwood Foundation’s President’s Award and is the 2011 recipient of the National Congress of Black Women’s “Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer Award”. She was selected to speak at the Democratic National Convention and served as a surrogate speaker, throughout the country, during the Presidential campaign for then Senator Barack Obama.
She continues to serve the community, youth and the elderly as a motivational speaker for both the civilian community and the Army’s Planning For life Program- speaking to over 45,000 middle and high school students in the U.S. and abroad from 2007-2009. She is a facilitator for the Family Leadership Institute- conducting workshops to help parents become leaders in their homes. Additionally, she is a principle agent for the Army’s H3 Program (Healing Helping Hiring Wounded Warriors), and continues to be an advocate and speaker for the military. She is President and CEO of The Bones Theory Group, L.L.C.
Some of her awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Parachutist Badge, German Army Forces Airborne Wings, and Royal Thai Airborne Wings.
Ms. Jones has a Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude) in Business Administration from Fayetteville State University, a constituent Institution of the University of North Carolina. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Management and International Relations.