Alumna Advocates for Black Businesses While Building her Own

Bloch grad and former basketball player is a Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce vice president

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Jade Tinner ‘12
Academic program: Business Administration -- Marketing, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Hometown: Canyon, Texas

Jade Tinner runs her public relations firm, JTBE INK, while serving as vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.

Tell us about your current position.

I’m currently the vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. In my position, I develop and implement strategic plans to ensure that communications, programming and corporate relations are effective and support the mission and goals of the DBCC and deepen the organization’s impact in the community. 

Was it solely basketball that brought you to UMKC? What else appealed to you about campus or the experience?

Basketball introduced me to UMKC, but the campus and coaching staff is what influenced my decision to commit to UMKC. I also loved the fact that It was far away from my hometown. I was ready to experience something new.

What was your favorite thing about UMKC?

The opportunity to be involved in other activities outside of sports. During my time I served as the treasurer of The African American Student Union, won the Miss Black & Gold pageant and am a member of Delta Sigma Pi.

How did you choose your field of study?

I always knew I was going to own something, and I needed to learn all I could about business and all of its functions. Marketing seemed to make the most sense for me as a creative.

What are the challenges of your field?

The main challenge in the marketing field is the broad overgeneralized definition of “marketing.” With technology changing daily, new marketing trends emerge as soon as you learn the last one. But the challenge of competing with yourself daily to be better than the day before is exciting.

What are the benefits?

Marketing at this time is the era of digital everything. For a creative like myself, this gives us the opportunity to really step outside of the norm, (because what is normal now?), think outside the box and explore, test and improve new and existing marketing efforts.

Has the discipline of being an athlete helped you in any way as far as digging in and getting through this challenging time?

Absolutely. I always say that basketball was my first love and my first teacher. It taught me to really buckle down and work hard on myself to be in the best shape possible or  –  in the best headspace possible  –  to accomplish everything going on. Off the court, I still have to make sure that I'm taking care of myself and I'm taking care of business.

Tell me a little bit about the business. What are you working on, how did it evolve and how is it working out?

It’s a lot like college. I always say I was so used to being busy, especially playing basketball and being involved in other organizations on campus. I was always going. That's the still the space I operate in.  I want to be busy. I want to be doing something. I want to be helping people.

"The main challenge in the marketing field is the broad overgeneralized definition of 'marketing.'" — Jade Tinner

As the vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, we advocate for the creation, growth and general welfare of Black-owned businesses in the North Texas region. I was on the board of directors before taking the full-time role as marketing director.

I started the One Unified Resource Foundation  –  or OUR Foundation. The biggest initiative is mentorship for young men ages 12 to 18. We're actually getting ready to implement the program in a local high school here in Texas.

It seems that the combination of philanthropy and business is part of your mission. Has giving back always been something that you've been interested in doing even before you were working?

I think it just comes naturally and I feel like it’s what we're supposed to do -- or at least what I'm supposed to do.

Did you see that in your family or your community growing up?  

Some of the giving back was a learned behavior. And then some of it is just seeing how hard my mother worked, my grandmother worked and my great grandparents worked. They instilled that in me.

Also, my grandpa always said “Never, never let someone go hungry.”

So, I love feeding people whether I’m cooking at home or it's going out to eat. I love to provide an experience, whether it's through one of our organizations’ events helping these young boys, or it's an event or program through the chamber.

In your opinion what are the most important areas a business owner should be focused on right now. And is it different for Black owned business than it is for business in general?

There aren’t differences on what the focus needs to be, but there are differences in the way we have access to capital.

I think the main focus for 2021 is obtaining enough financial capital to sustain the business. How are you going to obtain that? Are you applying for government relief funding? What is your relationship with your financial institution?

One of the major differences for Black-owned businesses or minority-owned business is the lack of relationships with their financial institutions. A lot of people in the United States discovered that when the first round of relief funding happened.

"I want to be busy. I want to be doing something. I want to be helping people." — Jade Tinner

Another really big takeaway from 2020 is that business owners should focus on being virtually and digitally present. And we need to plan long-term. There is no timeframe of when this could be over. So, how is your business going to sustain?

And then once this is “over,” business is going to look totally different. So, you need to know how your business is going to be able to stay up with the new technologies and how services are provided.

Do you have predictions on how it's going to look different?

The pandemic has changed so many things. For example, we know there's money that can be saved because now we know that people can work from home effectively.

In addition, a lot of new businesses have been created within the year because people lost their jobs and they had to figure out ways to stay alive. They may have turned their side hustles into their full-time means of income. We've seen a lot of new businesses like this coming to the chamber.

You have posted on social media about the focus on women creating wealth. Why is that a priority for you?

Specifically for me and in the chamber, I've worked in male-dominated industries. Most of us do, and, being an athlete, I always dealt with assumptions like the idea of boys being better at handling the ball than girls. I want that kind of mindset to change.

I’m responsible for corporate partnerships and external communication at the chamber. I wanted to see what our history was in these areas and women’s names are very, very scarce.  It’s been one of my focal points as a part of the staff to recognize that Black women are making contributions to our community and our business community.

"I always dealt with assumptions like the idea of boys being better at handling the ball than girls. I want that kind of mindset to change." — Jade Tinner

Right now, Black women are the number one leading demographic in the state of Texas for new startups. So, it's amazing that there is a need to bring this to people’s attention. Still, the average revenue for these businesses is around $40,000. Imagine $40,000 being your sole means of income and the capital to fund your business.

So, it's very important to feed financial capital into these businesses as well as social capital, because networking with like-minded people – like-minded business owners – that you can partner with and collaborate with is part of our focus.

What are your goals for the future?

To change the world! Within that there are some milestones to accomplish all for the betterment of our communities. 

Learn more about Jade
What is one word that best describes you?


Do you have a motto you live by?

Let’s get LIT (Live Intentional Today)!

Treat others how you want to be treated!

Were you a first person in your family to attend college?

I am not the first to attend college, but am the first to graduate from college. I’m the manifestation of all of the hard work my mom, grandmother, and great grandparents put in.

What did you learn about yourself while you were here?

I learned that I am definitely a city girl! Being in Kansas City opened my mind to all of the possibilities that are out there in the U.S. and across the world. I also learned how to be an adult, overcome obstacles and persevere through hard times.

What’s your favorite place in Kansas City?

My favorite place in Kansas City is the Jazz District. So much history and culture in one concentrated area.

What is your advice for a student entering UMKC?

Find a mentor, find your group of friends, get involved, save your money and enjoy your entire experience.


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