By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 02, 2021 at 4:01 PM

Black Is Beautiful is a series of interviews with interesting, intelligent and immersed-in-their-passion local African American women.

Jona Moore left Milwaukee to attend college, and after graduation, she thought about moving to another city, but returned to Milwaukee.

"I wouldn’t be who I am and still continuing to evolve as an individual, a woman or leader without Milwaukee," says Moore. "It’s important for me to pour back into my city and right now the best way that I am able to do that is through the non-profit work that I am doing with the Chamber."

Read on to learn more about Moore – and the incredible work she does – in her own words.

OnMilwaukee: Where were you born, raised and where did you attend high school, college?

Jona Moore: I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I attended Rufus King International Baccalaureate High School for the College Bound. For college, I am a 2010 graduate of Jackson State University where I received a degree in Biology Pre-Med.

What is your current job title and what do you do?

I am the Vice President of the African American Chamber of Commerce. I am transitioning into my new role as Vice President. I currently run and oversee the programming that we offer to minority entrepreneurs in the City of Milwaukee. The RISE MKE program and SPUR program are pivotal to the work we do in ensuring that entrepreneurs have the support and resources they need to be successful.

Cool. Can you share a little more about these programs?

RISE MKE is a 14-week entrepreneurial training program for start-up businesses and our SPUR program consists of a series of webinars covering topics such as marketing, finances, branding, business taxes, business insurance and so much more. I serve as the liaison for customers, members, community and government entities. I am also a part of committees and advocacy initiatives that are in partnership with the Chamber.

How is this work fulfilling for you?

It’s exciting to see people win and knowing that you were able to contribute to their success in some capacity. It’s fulfilling to watch an entrepreneur start with a business idea and see it completely come to fruition. It’s a great feeling to see how businesses are thriving. Especially in the midst of COVID, it was very fulfilling to successfully help and watch businesses pivot by providing resources, support, guidance, etc.

The work that I do is both encouraging and motivating. I’m learning and I’m inspired by the entrepreneurs I come across because of their hard work and dedication to add value to the city by way of their own creative passions.

How does your work move Milwaukee forward?

The work that I do moves Milwaukee forward by continuing to increase and improve economic development for the city. Continuing to support, provide resources, share financial opportunities and advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the city is helping to move the needle to adjust the unemployment rate and bring new and innovative opportunities to the city .

Entrepreneurship in Milwaukee brings in more revenue, creates more jobs, occupies vacant commercial spaces in urban communities and allows Milwaukee’s future generations to see people that look like them and know that they can own their own businesses, too.

How else are you involved in your community? 

Earlier this year I made the decision to step down from my extra-curricular opportunities that I was involved in to focus more on my self-care. I was the Social and Cultural Chair for the Milwaukee Urban League of Young Professionals and I sat on the Board for Signature Dance Company. I’m still a member of Tempo Milwaukee’s Emerging Women Leaders. I’m a member of Christian Faith Fellowship Church and I am a recent 2021 graduate of the African American Leadership Program - Cohort 12.

Have you ever thought about moving from Milwaukee? 

I think moving from Milwaukee has crossed everyone’s mind at some point. I’ve lived out of state while in college and at one point I traveled a lot. For some reason, I always wanted to come home. On top of that, people have always asked me why I haven’t left Milwaukee. I always share that I actually love Milwaukee.

Yet, what’s most important to me and why I choose to stay is because so many people poured into me as a child, teenager and even now as an adult: Milwaukee has given so much to me and of course with that comes the good and the bad. I’ve taken everything I’ve experienced and turned it into lessons that have helped make me stronger. I want to give back to Milwaukee what Milwaukee has given to me. I wouldn’t be who I am and still continuing to evolve as an individual, a woman or leader without Milwaukee. It’s important for me to pour back into my city and right now the best way that I am able to do that is through the non-profit work that I am doing with the Chamber.

What is one thing you don't love about Milwaukee?

I don’t love the reckless driving and all of the unnecessary car theft.

What is one thing you love about Milwaukee?

I absolutely love Milwaukee summers. I think Milwaukee has some of the best summers. There’s so much to do with all of the festivals, good restaurants, plays, live music, the new Deer District. It’s so much fun!

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.