Alexina Jones acknowledged for hard work, community involvement

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Editor's note: This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, Southern Vermont Landscapes is celebrating the history of women from our region, past and present, whose accomplishments deserve to be better-known.

BENNINGTON — Alexina Jones' roots run deep into the community. She recognized that after being acknowledged as Young Professional of the Year in the nonprofit sector at the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce's recent annual dinner and awards.

"Going to this specific chamber event ... I looked around and saw people my daughter went to school with and other familiar faces," Jones said. "It was a great community vibe that I did not get working in a more remote location [at my previous job]. That was really nice and being a part of the community is great."

Jones, project manager at the Bennington Museum, stepped onto the scene right as executive director Robert Wolterstorff announced his departure in 2019. She then stepped into the role of acting operations director until January 2020 when Joshua Torrance filled the executive director's spot. Prior to that, she commuted daily to Saratoga, N.Y. for work.

Operating under transitional times seems to be something Jones is good at, she noted.

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"I stepped right in as our executive director announced that he was leaving," Jones said. "The job I wanted was a crash course of what the museum is and what it means to the community and I learned that all at once. That's what brought me to the top of the pile. That's where I shined and it was really nice to be noticed for that."

Jones was completely unaware of her award nomination.

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"Alex has been fantastic and super helpful," Torrance said. "She has super deep community connections. She's cheerful and friendly and great to work with. She and the rest of the staff make it pleasurable to come [to the museum] every day. We're so proud of Alex and all that shes's accomplished. I was a new person who quickly realized how talented and what an incredible asset she is to the museum."

While Jones had always been interested in performance and visual art, she finds herself busy as a mother, wife, peer, and volunteer. For the Bennington Area Arts Council, she's able to work on various initiatives and said she overall enjoys connecting folks, giving advice and helping out wherever she can. Jones' husband also owns MSK Engineering & Design and they've lived in Vermont for longer than anywhere else.

Aside from her own professional career, Jones is aware of the effort young professionals are putting in to make the Bennington-area community thrive. She mentioned various ongoing projects such as the Bennington Recreation Center expansion, the Putnam Block redevelopment, Mike Cutler "revolutionizing the way CAT-TV interacts with the community," and a few different young entrepreneurs who are starting a wine tasting business and a graphic design company.

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"There's lots of opportunity with those collaborations as we continue to grow together," Jones said. "Everyone is doing amazing things. That's all right here. There are all kinds of businesses blossoming — and cool, different and vibrant ideas that young people are coming up with. That's so important for the growth and sustainability of a community."

The Young Professional of the Year award Jones received was established in 2018. It's given to an individual between 21 and 40 years old who demonstrates leadership, vision and innovation, a hard work ethic, an impact on the community, an ability to motivate others, and does doing all of this with integrity, according to Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce executive director Matt Harrington.

"Alex is a rising star in this region and we were happy to celebrate with her at our recent annual membership meeting," Harrington said. "Alex does all these things and more. Her forward-looking leadership and unquenchable work ethic have kindled enthusiastic community support for programs and institutions benefitting the entire Bennington area and its citizens."

Freelance writer Makayla-Courtney McGeeney is a frequent contributor to Southern Vermont Landscapes.


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