Growing Together at Coalfire

CHRO Leslie Jones uses the power of unity to build a culture of initiative that drives the company toward sustainable success

Leslie Jones lives her life to the fullest. She enjoys tackling any challenge, pursuing any adventure, and leading any expedition. These passions shine through in her love for hiking, mountaineering, and ice climbing and, over time, these have illuminated throughout her career. Translating these passions into her job was not an obvious decision—at first. It was a challenging mountain climbing experience in Nepal nearly fifteen years ago that led Jones to realize how valuable her experiences could be in a business context.

Leslie Jones Coalfire
Leslie Jones, Coalfire Photo: Kate McKinley

Halfway through a climbing trip in the Everest region of Nepal, Jones and her group were abandoned by their guide because of a serious misstep in communication, in addition to several other factors. With no expert guiding them, Jones and her team had to join forces and work together to return to safety. This unforgettable experience taught Jones the importance of teamwork to successfully accomplish difficult tasks. She wanted to translate this same mentality into her work, inspiring her to adapt her career into one that centers on the power of unity and inspires others to lead.

“My experience in Nepal drove a number of big life decisions,” explains Jones, who had earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University prior to the climb. “I decided to get my executive coaching certification, pursue my master’s degree in leadership, and start a family. I knew I wanted to coach others to be leaders formally or informally. After seeing the best in individuals come out in a challenging situation, I wanted to find a way to help others be successful in everyday situations in the workplace.”

Human resources provided Jones a platform to impart her coaching expertise to impact employees’ lives and careers. As she moved through her own career, she discovered a particular fascination in the technology industry. Eventually her love for HR, technology, and cybersecurity led her to Coalfire, where she now stands as its chief human resources officer.

She enjoys the dynamic nature of cybersecurity and the excitement of moving with the future as it unfolds in front of her.

At Coalfire, Jones’s goal is to channel her Nepal experience to demonstrate that organizations run more effectively when every moving piece works together. “It’s important to bring together a team of people you can trust and depend on throughout the journey,” she says. “A true leader finds strengths in her or his team members and empowers them to grow into the best they can be to achieve personal and organizational goals—to contribute in a way that drives individual purpose and collective success.”

Within Coalfire’s community, she stresses the importance of bringing together a workforce that drives each other toward prosperity. On her own team, she emphasizes honesty, connectivity, and progression. Together, Jones and her team have helped the company to embody a people-centric culture that guides employees through organizational and personal goals throughout their career paths.

Leslie Jones Coalfire
Photo: Xander Bianchi

During her time, Coalfire has provided opportunities for its people to receive technical certifications, participate in leadership development programs and soft skills trainings, and be given career development opportunities. Jones has also been active in helping Coalfire launch programs like Fusion, which helps increase interdepartmental collaboration, and Flight Club, which tracks flight mileage for business travel and rewards employees who have logged extensive hours. Both of these initiatives have built a sense of partnership and appreciation within Coalfire’s community that then translates holistically into the work it does for its customers.

“It’s critical to have a strong people-focused infrastructure in place so that we can be proactive in partnering and consulting with our people and leaders to deliver the best business results,” Jones offers. “We have created a collaborative environment that enables an innovative culture and allows us to support and grow together.”

As Coalfire moves toward its progressive future, Jones looks forward to continuing her strong working partnership with the CEO and her peers, and helping the organization continue to drive a constant evolution of its culture because “remaining static is not an option.” Jones places trust in her colleagues, and offers them support and direction along the way. She hopes to channel the power found within each individual to build a meaningful, engaging, vibrant environment that allows Coalfire to propel toward continued success.