01-11-2023 · Cole Society


United Way is excited to spotlight Iriel Jones as a member of the Cole Society! Iriel is a Labor & Employment Attorney at Fisher Phillips, she graduated from United Way’s VIP Program, and she has served on the Wellness Committee for the Atlanta Bar Association. She is a great asset to our community and to the Cole Society.


Tell us about your role at Fisher Phillips.

I like to call myself the fixer. (I’m actually an attorney.) I help employers comply with their legal obligations as it related to their employees by reviewing employee handbooks, making sure employees are properly classified for overtime purposes, and reducing the risk of litigation. I also analyze affirmative action plans for federal contractors.

You are a graduate of our Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) program! Tell us about the program and your experience.

United Way’s VIP is designed to develop and enhance leadership skills and increase diverse volunteer participation in nonprofit board and leadership positions in Greater Atlanta. While in the program, participants learn about nonprofit board roles and resources, fundraising, governing as a tram, marketing, legal and ethical decision-making, crisis communication, and intentional leadership.

My experience was absolutely amazing! I met great people who all care about improving the community around them. I gained the tools I need to become a nonprofit board member and I am so grateful for the opportunity United Way gave me.

What inspires you to Live United?

I’m inspired to Live United because we are all so unique and have so much to give to one another, even when we don’t think it’s much.

Growing up, I was taught that if you have a gift, then you should share that gift with others. That way, we can all learn from one another and grow into our best selves.

I make wellness a priority in my life by keeping my mental and physical health a priority. I’m an advocate for therapy and exercise. Health starts with the mind, and therapy can help people heal their minds. Exercise gives your body the energy it needs to conquer the day.

I love living in Georgia because it’s an excellent place to go hiking, find a mountain to climb, or even go for a short bike ride.

What is your favorite piece of advice?

My favorite piece of advice is “write down your vision.” Sometimes we get caught up with life and move without purpose or vision. Having a goal and something to look forward to helps you understand what you should be working toward day-to-day. If you don’t have a vision, seek a mentor to give you guidance. We all have gifts that are waiting to be used.