From Chick-fil-A Leader Academy to Tesla
It’s been 7 years since former Chick-fil-A Leader Academy student, Monika Jones, graduated from the program in its inaugural year. For her, she says it’s still the single most impactful experience that she now credits for her success as Project Manager of Vehicle Software Systems Integration at Tesla.
“I was involved in many clubs and activities in high school, but there’s only one club I would credit with shaping me as a human being and that’s Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.”
Jones says the leadership and soft skills she learned through the program instilled in her the basic instincts to work with people by applying the principles of servant leadership that make others feel valued and cared for while also creating lasting impact. Following high school, Monika had the opportunity to serve as a Youth Ambassador with the United Nations with a focus on hunger and clean water initiatives in third world countries.
“I knew I always wanted to address the problems in the world, and not just talk about the issues, but make a tangible impact. My experience in Chick-fil-A Leader Academy taught me that I can be a leader and create change in my community if I set aside my fear and just go for it.
Fast forward after her fellowship at the UN and graduating from the University of Georgia, Monika is two years and two promotions into her career at Tesla and she says she’s just getting started. With the work she’s doing and the team she’s on (yes, she does work directly with Elon if you were curious) testing prototypes for Tesla’s technologies of the future, Monika is excited about creating change and building a better world for future generations.
“I’m so grateful for my experience in Chick-fil-A Leader Academy because I’m able to apply so much of what I learned in my career here at Tesla. Sadly, most of the people I work around in silicon valley only care about money and getting ahead….but I know that true success comes only through serving others. This is what this program taught me and I am who I am today because of it.”