Aranthan “AJ” Jones II is the chief policy and communications officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.
In this role, he leads the execution of the foundation’s policy, communications and advocacy strategies worldwide, specifically where those strategies are influenced and driven by key U.S. or international officials. Jones serves as a key spokesperson on behalf of the Kellogg Foundation and works in coordination with the chief strategy officer and the leadership team on the foundation’s portfolio/grantee investments and operations. He’s responsible for establishing and managing public-private partnerships and serves as the primary policy interface with multilateral institutions, global and domestic investment agencies, public/private philanthropies and governments.
Prior to joining the foundation, Jones served as the head of worldwide government affairs for Gilead Sciences, a leading biotech company. At Gilead, he led a global team to develop, advance and engage public policies and regulations to expand access and pharmaceutical innovation. He also led teams to align strategic communications and public policy engagements for governmental and nongovernmental audiences.
Jones also previously served as health practice chairman and principal at the Podesta Group in Washington, D.C. At Podesta, he was lead strategist and public policy consultant for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits and global foundations.
Jones also previously served as the policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip office, headed by Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina. He was one of four policy directors within the leadership of the USHR, the first African American policy director in the leadership of the USHR and the highest-ranking African American healthcare advisor in the USHR.
AJ has received numerous national awards and citations acknowledging his leadership in a myriad of public policy areas, including being named by Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as one of the 150 most fascinating people to have graduated from the LAS school since its inception.
While AJ is a staple in the healthcare policy community, he is also well established in the financial services community. AJ’s exceptional knowledge of capital markets, municipal bond markets, derivatives, pensions, and debt-securitization led to his appointment as one of the lead policy negotiators for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) which created the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
AJ has served as a standing guest lecturer for the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Harvard University’s School of Medicine. He lectures widely on economic policy, healthcare quality, disaster preparedness policy, international relations, congressional advocacy and diversity within the health professions.
He has worked internationally in Nigeria, South Africa, Germany, and France. He can speak Yoruba (a prominent Nigerian language) and is currently learning conversational Hebrew.
Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Iowa State University and graduate training in international health policy with concentrations in economic development and finance from George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services.