When Mautra Jones was named Oklahoma’s 2021 Mother of the Year, she was touched and humbled. Then, when she was announced National Mother of the Year during the American Mother’s, Inc. 2021 virtual conference, ironically while in the car with her family between kids’ soccer games, she was shocked. Mautra has embraced the unique opportunity to help empower moms throughout the country, and by sharing her own story, from a difficult childhood to a life based on serving others, Mautra hopes she
can be an inspiration to others.
“As a woman of faith, I have always believed and lived by the principle ‘to whom much is given, much is required,’” said Mautra. “I hope that through my diverse set of life experiences and gifts, I can serve and relate to people at all levels and throughout the many stages of life, from the underserved yet talented youth to the struggling but selfless mom. We all have an obligation to give back.”
As National Mother of the Year, Mautra hopes to reflect the realities that moms are imperfect, always learning and trying their best in the midst of both the joys and challenges of parenthood. As a vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs at Langston University and executive director of the Langston University Foundation, wife to U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones, mom of three active kids and committed board member to eight community organizations, no two days are ever the same in Mautra’s world, but each day includes a commitment to her faith, marriage, children, career and community. Mautra gave us a peek into her daily routine.
Time to wake up! Everyone in the Jones family is up by 6 a.m. to get ready for the day, including preparing lunches, packing snacks and grabbing breakfast.
School time! Like everything in their marriage and parenting, Mautra and her husband Bernard share drop-off and pick-up duties for Brendan, Kennedy and BJ. Then it’s off to Langston University’s urban campus in Oklahoma City, where Mautra is the site administrator. She often starts her day meeting with her team members, helping set the day’s priorities or overall vision for the projects they are working on. In her role as vice president, she meets weekly with the university president and other vice presidents to report on current projects and engage in strategic planning.
As executive director of Langston’s Foundation, Mautra is consistently meeting and communicating with the foundation’s board of directors and donors, both current and prospective. She manages frequent inquiries about how donors can assist the foundation and aligns donor interests with campus initiatives. She also oversees the creation of scholarship funds and the awarding of those funds to students. As 2021 comes to a close, Mautra is ensuring end-of-year fundraising goals are met, reporting to individual, corporate, foundation, community and government donors and planning fundraising efforts for 2022.
Mautra takes time each day to touch base with Bernard. She also prioritizes a daily call to her grandmother and checks in regularly with her brothers, godmother and other close family members. As highlighted by the pandemic, Mautra says life is precious and not promised, so communicating her love to those closest to her is a daily priority.
One of Mautra’s favorite parts of her job is time spent with Langston students. Helping students find resources to fund their educations, resolve challenges or set their paths for successful futures is extremely fulfilling. Mautra also works with community partners to expand the university’s outreach efforts and with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on degree completion initiatives.
Lunchtime usually consists of either meeting with donors or a board meeting for one of the eight boards Mautra currently serves on, each special to her because she has the opportunity to touch various parts of the community and see lives changed through helping organizations achieve their missions.
Back at the office, Mautra works with various local nonprofits or community partners interested in using Langston’s OKC campus to host events as the site serves as hub of collaboration and community gathering. She also assists in overseeing the new MAPS 3 Health & Wellness Center at NE 36th Street and Lincoln Blvd, scheduled for completion in 2022, as the university is the operating partner for this initiative.
In her duties as National Mother of the Year, Mautra often provides interviews or participates in virtual speaking engagements with audiences around the country to encourage others on their motherhood journeys. While she used to shy away from sharing her story of growing up in poverty and being raised primarily by her grandmother, she now realizes her ability to connect with and support other moms in similar situations.
As Mautra wraps up her own work for the day, she’s also checking in with the team members she supervises to determine their needs and how she can offer encouragement or guidance.
The Jones family transitions from work and school to family time and extracurricular activities. All three kids excel in soccer and swimming, Kennedy also loves ballet and Brendan is intent on trying out martial arts.
BJ, Kennedy and Brendan read and complete homework before dinner, during which everyone shares what they have going on the following day and where they need help. Mautra and Bernard share meal planning duties and prioritize time as a family of five in the evening.
Once the kids are in bed, Mautra and Bernard catch up about their days and how they can best support each other. Oftentimes Mautra picks up where she left off at work earlier in the day to get tasks squared away or prepare for the following day’s meetings.
Dr. Mautra Staley Jones on …
Why She Gives Back
“The work I do is special because it’s an example of my faith. I want people to feel loved, important and worthy. My life looks so much different than what it used to — I don’t take my life or the blessings I’ve been given for granted — and it’s my job to now to pour my time and talents into others.”
Raising Kids Who Love to Serve
“Leading by example has made a big impression on my children. They have questions and want to know how to help others because they see it modeled before them. They have enjoyed service projects through the YMCA, at church and collecting items from home to give away. As MetroFamily Cover Kids, they loved being able to write letters and make artwork for healthcare workers. They definitely have service-oriented hearts.”
Working for an Organization That Values Family
“I appreciate that Langston University encourages an environment that respects and values family. It is interwoven into who we are as an institution. Our kids often engage with the university community, they come to homecoming and University family fun nights.”
Her Supportive Partner
“I have to pay homage to Bernard. I wouldn’t be where I am without Bernard’s love and support. We work as a team and he’s a hands-on, involved, engaged parent; he’s an example that there are great fathers out there doing the best and the most, too. He walks alongside me in everything, supporting the university and the nonprofits I support.”
Making Time for Self-Care
“I build in time for myself by planning special days. I started a couple years ago making sure I take needed time to refocus, regroup and replenish myself, whether that’s time with my best girl friends, family or my husband. I used to be the young mom on the hamster wheel, but now I always encourage moms to be intentional about taking time for them.”
Giving Back as a Family
Find ways to volunteer with your children this holiday season, from socially distant opportunities with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Mobile Market providing fresh produce and other foodstuffs to reading to cats and dogs at the City of Edmond Animal Shelter, at metrofamilymagazine.com/