By Niyah Martin, Intern
Montgomery, Ala.- Jonathan Avant can be considered one of the most impactful community leaders in Montgomery. His dedication to lending a helping hand to those in need and improving the city that many people call home is admired and cherished. Avant is a man that understands the personal challenges of citizens in the community and works every day to uplift minority families and businesses. Avant has greatly assisted the city of Montgomery through his accounting and community services.
Jonathan Avant was born to parents Glenn and Brenda Avant on Maxwell Airforce base in Montgomery, Alabama. After his birth, Mr. and Mrs. Avant decided to settle and raise their children in the city of Montgomery. As a child, Avant was extremely creative and virtuous and his family’s dedication to Church would only further strengthen his talents.
Avant is proud of his family and believes that his upbringing helps him relate to others in the city of Montgomery. Avant says, “As a retired military family, we are all products of the local public school system. As you look at our plan today of how we want our city to come off to young, professional families or young military families, I am a product of that.”
In 2004, Avant graduated from Jefferson Davis High school then went on to study music at Alabama State University on a full scholarship. After some time at Alabama State University, Avant then transferred to Auburn University of Montgomery also known as AUM. It was there that he decided to pursue a degree in accounting. While studying accounting, Avant began to realize that he could use his degree to positively impact his community. Avant graduated from Auburn University of Montgomery in 2011. Today, he works as an accountant for Aldridge, Borden and Co. Avant says, “I ultimately decided to switch to accounting when I saw a need for more support around minority business and small businesses. As a banker, we close million-dollar deals, but I couldn’t assist my own community. When it comes down to that, it weighed heavy on my heart and ultimately pushed me into accounting as a career.”
Avant’s passionate drive for the betterment of Montgomery shows through his commitment to community service. Avant says, “While I was in banking, I just started serving wherever I felt that I could assist small businesses and my community. I didn’t know that it was going to turn into a chain of economic development. It’s all about how we do this thing called community, the perspective that we all see comes with responsibility. I am serving the purpose attached to my perspective regarding economic development, small business, and minority business especially and putting it all together to make a sustainable community.”
Avant serves as the current president of the Downtown Business Association, the Vice Chair of Montgomery County Cooperative District and Treasurer of Valiant Cross Academy. He is an active member of the Montgomery College of Business Advisory Board at Auburn University of Montgomery and River Region Trails Project. Avant has also been deemed Honorary Commander of Maxwell Airforce base’s contracts division. In 2020, Avant was named the Outstanding Young Alumnus of Auburn University of Montgomery’s College of Business.
As one can imagine, being a black man in the world of business is not any easy role to take on. Avant admits to facing a considerable number of hardships but also provides an optimistic outlook on the lessons that can be learned from it. Avant says, “Navigating through the business world as a black man takes true character, competitiveness, creativity, and perseverance. There can be many doors that get closed, locked, or even opened because of who you are. However, through it all, it is our responsibility as black men to remain disciplined and focused in operating with a bigger vision in mind for our community to become more economically competitive in a fast-paced society. Sometimes that may take a Godly heart that can show love through any negativity, a creative mind that can create opportunities out of rejection or a chip on your shoulder that pushes you pass any pain or failure. It all plays a role in being a black man in business.”
Avant’s artistic interests have helped him maneuver the challenges that come with his career. He uses drawing, singing, and playing instruments as therapeutic outlets from his everyday life. Avant says, “Drawing was the first thing that I started doing. When I can sit down and just draw, it’s probably the most peaceful space that I can be in as a human being. I was also exposed to music through Church at a very early age. I got more comfortable with different rhythms and singing.
Avant has a strong vision for the community and citizens of Montgomery. He has put a lot of hard work into the improvement of the city but still believes that there is more work to be done. Avant hopes to see Montgomery eventually become an area of economic prosperity and bustling tourism.
“My overall vision for Montgomery is to see it become a must-see place that continues to define America’s democracy and that will provide a successful display of humanity at work. Over the next decade, I can see Montgomery developing into a multicultural hub of innovation, manufacturing, logistics, arts, and entertainment. As well as a top destination for military families and aspiring college students. Through several developments, collaborative efforts and exciting plans not only will this become a reality, but we will also get one step closer to becoming a global example of how our past can profitably define our future.”
Avant sets an electrifying example of what it means to be a community leader. However, he strives to be more than that to young people. As a father of two young girls, Avant hopes to encourage the next generation to do what they can to advocate for change within the community. Avant says, “I hope that I am inspiring them to understand that they are all created for something special and something important. No matter what happens in your life, nothing is a mistake. It all leads to what perspective you have and how you will act on that.”
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