Tyra Jones-Hurst: Someone is willing to bet on you

—It is Black History Month, and every day this month, The Message will be sharing short profiles of Black professionals from across the industry: marketing, advertising, PR, media and production. Written by POCAM members, the profiles are a way to “fight invisibility,” an exercise in representation for an industry where representation must get better—

Tyra Jones-Hurst is a creative at heart, which is what drew her to our industry. “I have always been creative and tend to get bored easily,” she said. “I wanted to enter an industry where I could be my creative, big-picture thinking self, while also not being tied down to just one thing.”

Marketing, and the agency world, allowed her work with many clients across multiple verticals, while exercising her creativity.

Jones-Hurst got her start in the industry when a family friend helped her land an interview. Since then, she’s worked her way to her current role, business director at Oliver Agency, specifically running InKroud, a new division committed to creating representative, authentic, and nuanced work that accurately and progressively portrays Black and Latiné diverse consumers across the globe.

“Having an employer that believes in your talent, creativity and backs an entrepreneurial spirit is vital to the success of emerging talent looking to put their values first in order to make impactful and withstanding change in and for the world,” she said.

For Jones-Hurst, finding her tribe has helped her find her voice, and use it to work through microaggressions. “Regardless of what anyone is going through, it is so important to have a support system that not only understands, but can be trusted to act accordingly,” she said.

Finding her voice has meant speaking up. “Calling people out is terrifying—especially in the workplace where your livelihood could be impacted. That said, I believe addressing bias in all of its forms is imperative,” she said. “If we don’t call out what happens to us, we can’t change it for ourselves or the future generations.”

Her mentor Christine Scott helped her grow into the leader she is today. Scott was her first Black boss, and immediately challenged her to “have a seat at the table.”

“When she noticed my light-dimming traits during a site visit, she reassured me that she hired me for a reason, and I did not have to play small in her presence.” said Jones-Hurst.

For the industry to become truly inclusive, it needs more visible and non-visible minorities, and its boardrooms need to reflect the outside world, said Jones-Hurst. Without that, we aren’t demonstrating inclusion.

Her advice to other Black talent trying to break into our industry is to maintain their power, be resourceful and resilient, and flex those muscles that come with navigating the world while Black. “You will find your home. You just have to be willing to bet on yourself, and know that somewhere out there, someone is willing to bet on you too.”

Jones-Hurst hopes to change the industry through InKroud by curating a collective of culturally immersed creatives, strategists, and account leads dedicated to fostering genuine representation and authenticity with brands that are looking to engage honestly with their audience.

This POCAM BHM 2023 profile was written by Aleena Mazhar, SVP, managing director, partner at FUSE Create, and a member of the POCAM steering committee.