Dr Maiysha D Jones - Women Making History

Source: Courtesy of Secret Deodorant

Dr. Maiysha D. Jones had a heightened interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math long before the mass call for Black women to join the STEM field. Earning a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana, she later obtained an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from The Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Memphis native combined her passion for helping others realize their full potential and love of science to create an influential career impacting millions worldwide.

Deodorants and facial cleansers undergo extensive testing before they hit the shelves and end up in your bathroom cabinet. Dr. Jones plays a vital role in developing personal care items under Proctor & Gamble, home to household brands like Secret, Olay, Native, My Black is Beautiful, and Crest.

“I help key stakeholders understand the science behind personal care products,” she explains in an exclusive interview.

“In previous roles, I led microbiology quality and compliance for global Hair Care initiatives, and later I led personal care and facial cleanser clinical trials,” she says.

Dr. Maiysha D. Jones is inspiring women to lean into the STEM field

The call for Black women to join the STEM field has increased in recent years. There is a need for Black people to exist in these spaces because as the world continues to evolve, science, technology, engineering and math will remain a lucrative career field. According to the National Science Foundation, “Asians represent 9%, Whites 65%, Hispanics 14%, and Blacks 9% of the STEM labor force.”

These statistics make Dr. Jones’ visibility as a Black scientist salient. She’s used her position at Proctor & Gamble to empower others to explore their fullest potential, while equipping the public with products that are safe for the body.

“I’ve been with P&G for over 13 years – from serving as a STEM mentor, R&D recruiter, and scientific society board member to being sought-after to speak at universities and national conferences,” she tells me.

Olay Body #SkinInTheGame Women In STEM Program Launch

Source: Duane Prokop / Getty

“One of my proudest moments was being recognized with a Global Diversity & Inclusion Award from P&G’s Chief Diversity Officer a few years back,” she says.

We are not in the profession of managing other people’s expectations.

Black women are the minority in the STEM field, but they are boldly taking up space. And because we enter these spaces and thrive, we are held to an unattainable standard that can be crippling. Often, the compensation doesn’t match our Caucasian counterparts or our level of productivity. Still, we show up fully and authentically because dimming our light is not an option, and we are not in the profession of managing other people’s expectations of us.

“Black women, especially Black women in corporate America, find ourselves in fast-paced, externally-focused, market-driven, problem-solving spaces,” says Dr. Jones. “Layer on raising a family, being brought up in families with high standards, and often being the “only” (woman, Black person, minority, young person, etc, fill-in-the-blank) in the room, there can be a constant battle of showing up a certain way or watching how or what she says and thinking through how it might be perceived, interpreted, misinterpreted or how that comment or decision might affect career growth…and all of this going on in her mind in time with the pace of the conversation or situation. A lot of that noise results from expectations imposed by others.”

“But when you know you are leveraging your knowledge, skill, and experience to deliver to the best of your ability, that is enough, you’ve met your own expectations, and other people’s expectations become less important,” she continues.

This barrier isn’t unique to the STEM field; it transcends across industries. Dr. Jones overcame the hurdle of managing people’s expectations with time, introspection, and community.

“Time: Life has handed me various situations that have shaped my perspective and informed how I move in the world. Introspection: With anything we face in life, we can only control what we can control, namely, how we prepare for and respond to situations. I choose not to assign value to other people’s expectations, which lessens their weight. Community: Surrounding myself with people who provide counsel based on their experiences, hold me accountable, and celebrate with me gives me the fortitude to overcome challenges,” she explains.

Standing in power

Dr Maiysha D Jones - Women Making History

Source: Courtesy of Secret Deodorant

All of us are born with an inherent source of power that we learn to control throughout our life experiences. The idea of power is subjective, as each person’s life experiences teach them unique lessons that allow them to confidently shine in their individual power. For Dr. Jones, her power comes from confidently staying true to herself.

My power comes from not letting others define me or my worth.

“As black women, our value, our motives, our ideas and even our intonations are often mischaracterized. We have to choose not to let our power, our influence, our impact be stolen. Sometimes that means resetting expectations in relationships, reminding the team that you generated the data, or reiterating that your strategy drove the thinking, for example,” she says 

That strong sense of self has helped Dr. Jones navigate her career and beyond from a place of self-assurance.

“Throughout my career I’m most proud of my ability to endure challenges great and small, personal and professional. There have been several times in my career when walking away from a situation, a project, an open door, would have been the easy choice. The ability to endure has enabled me to see the big picture, to define my why in each instance, and to approach the next challenge with even greater finesse,” she continues.

The younger generation is full of innovators ready to change the world. As they work on activating their inner power, they learn by watching women like Dr. Jones grow and maneuver within their careers. “I will continue being an example of what black excellence in STEM looks like,” she says.

Although there’s more power in Dr. Jones to activate, she is proud of what she’s created thus far. And to the younger version of herself who found solace in STEM, she advises her to “do what you love. Take that position in Paris. Move your family across the country. Ask the questions no one else has the moxie to ask. As long as you grow with each experience, and as long as each experience moves you closer to your definition of personal satisfaction….take the risk, immeasurably more awaits.”

Learn more about Dr. Jones at or follow her on Instagram @maiyshajones.


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Women Making History: Dr. Maiysha D. Jones Encourages Women To Take Up Space In The STEM Field And Beyond  was originally published on