RCBC student, veteran and entrepreneur uses positivity to overcome discrimination
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Anthony Jones has been all over the world and even out on the street. He’s been in literal wars and uses positivity to overcome the discrimination he’s faced as a Black man and veteran who transitioned to civilian life. With the help of his girlfriend, Shavone Warren (who introduces herself as his No. 1 fan), Anthony, or  A.J., has found his place at Rowan College at Burlington County as a serial entrepreneur and an older student who challenges his instructors and mentors the younger students in his class. In each role, A.J. takes pride in being able to help the next generation, especially those who have been underestimated. 

In a way, this parallels his military service as a medic. “I’m here to heal people,” A.J. said. “God put me here, if not as a medic, but as a good man to help other people.” A.J. became unemployed during COVID and decided it was time to take control of his own destiny and start his own business. “Now’s the time! Live your own dream,” A.J. said. “Do it your way and show the people who didn’t believe in you that you can do it.”

Inspired by Shavon’s love of sneakers, A.J. launched a company specializing in high-end collectible brands that he called Kismet Kicks. “All of our businesses are called Kismet because it was kismet that I met my Shavone who turned my life around,” A.J. said. “I started with sneakers because I was tired of spending all this money and getting nothing for it. It also was a way of showing my love for Shavone because it was doing something with her interest.”

After Kismet Kicks came Kismet Bucks, which installs and maintains automated teller machines. The first installation occurred this year in a tattoo shop.
Next? Kismet Transportation. A.J. recently survived the arduous three-year application process to become an Amazon Delivery Service Partner, which means he will (as soon as the right territory opens up) be able to employ and empower others who may have been overlooked.

“I’ve been minimized and I don’t want others to go through that,” says A.J., who dreams of one day hiring a manager for this future endeavor – not because he doesn’t want to do the work, but because he wants to give someone else the opportunity to control their destiny. Kismet! “I’ve gone from being underestimated my whole life to Business Owner,” he says. “I want to train someone to do my job and give them the opportunity to be a manager.”

A little further down the road, don’t be surprised to see Kismet Kennels. Shavone and A.J. are adopting a French Bulldog. For now, A.J. is focused on completing his education as a 3+1 Business major to set an example for his three daughters, one of whom will be attending RCBC alongside her father next year. This too presents another example of using positivity to overcome discrimination. In high school, A.J. had the grades and SAT scores to get into college, but no one presented college to him as a viable option. When A.J. completes his bachelor’s degree in 2024, they won’t have to look far for a positive example of a college success.