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Imara Jones

Education: MSc in Economics from The London School of Economics; AB in Political Science, Columbia University

Recent projects include: The Bridgespan Group, MIT CoLab, FAAM

Personal interests include: TV! Favorite shows include The Walking Dead, Homeland, Game of Thrones, The Crown, the Real Housewives of Atlanta and many others.

Imara—whose contributions to media and social justice have won Emmy and Peabody Awards—is an on-air news analyst, writer, and host. Imara also is a consultant for non-profits on branding and communications strategy.

Imara’s work focuses on the full range of equity and social justice issues from the perspective of America’s emerging majority, specifically people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community.

Driven by the mission to support social change and meet the news needs of millennials of color, Imara founded and is president of Oria Media. Oria’s core property, The Last Sip—a program designed to link national news stories to grassroots communities—will rollout in the Summer of 2017. It will air on the progressive news network FSTV.

Imara’s wide-ranging perspective has helped land them as a frequent guest on television and radio programs, including MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes and The Melissa Harris Perry Show, HuffPostLive’s Political Junkies, CNBC’s Closing Bell, Al Jazeera America’s Inside Story, PBS’ Democracy Now!, NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC’s World Service, and The Takeaway— a program of The New York Times and WNYC Public Radio.

Additionally, their work has been featured in print and online in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, The Nation, BBC News, Mic, Salon, and The Washington Post Company’s The Root.

From 2012-2014 Imara was economics contributor at Colorlines Magazine where their writing was syndicated in news outlets across the country. In 2015 Imara launched a YouTube channel caffeineTV, a 3-minute daily news brief which gave a different take on diverse topics.

Prior to their career in journalism, Imara held posts at Viacom where their work on the company’s Know HIV/AIDS campaign garnered two Emmy Awards and a Peabody.

In that role, Imara ran a $3 million department and mobilized over $200 million in media value across Viacom’s global assets for the venture, which included MTV, CBS, VH1, BET, Paramount Pictures and CBS Radio. Imara developed the strategic plan for Know HIV/AIDS and was asked by the company’s Chief Operating Officer to manage the campaign. Imara worked with over a half-dozen ad agencies and negotiated international partnerships, such as with the BBC and Kenneth Cole Productions, to expand the footprint of the endeavor. Their creativity attracted key talent to work with the Know HIV/AIDS campaign including Common, Julianne Moore, and Ashley Judd. According to the United Nations, “Know HIV/AIDS is the largest public messaging effort in the history of the AIDS epidemic.”

Preceding the Know HIV/AIDS effort, Imara was Manager for Corporate Relations at Viacom from 2000-2002 where they served as the primary spokesperson on technology-related matters. In this role, Imara developed a rapid-response operation comprised of lawyers and communications staff to coordinate the company’s public response to new technology that infringed Viacom’s copyrights. The team’s success in highlighting that certain devices, such as the Replay4000, harmed artists more than corporations helped Viacom win key legal battles. At Viacom Imara also wrote speeches, press releases, performed media briefings and training for executives, and prepared talking points.

Before Viacom, Imara served in the Clinton White House where they held two posts in international economic policy.

The first was as Special Assistant to the United States Trade Representative where Imara supported the US Trade Representative in day-to-day management and communications coordination issues. Subsequently, Imara joined the Office of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (i.e. the China War Room) at The White House as Communications Specialist to help harmonize messaging efforts between the White House and Capitol Hill in support of the normalization legislation.

Imara, a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, received an undergraduate degree in political science and history from Columbia University—where they were student body president—and a master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Imara blends their credentials with rich life experiences inspired by an array of the world’s cultures. Imara has traveled to almost two-dozen countries on every continent except Australia and the Antarctic. Fluent in Portuguese, Salvador, and Bahia. Brazil is Imara’s second home.

Imara is also an avid consumer of television. Their favorite shows include: The Walking Dead, Homeland, Game of Thrones, The Crown, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and many others.

Imara is genderqueer and goes by the pronouns they/them.