Careers Diversity education

Community Spotlight: Terrell Jones & Culture Cookies

We recently had the pleasure of experiencing Culture Cookies at our Black History Month family collage event earlier this year and we just couldn’t get enough, so we had to get to know the man behind the mission. These aren’t your average cookies—each individually wrapped pack offers a powerful morsel of black cultural education to digest as you enjoy each delicious bite. Learn about Terrell Jones and his journey to educate and delight with Culture Cookies.

What initially inspired you to start Culture Cookies?

Culture has always been something I’ve appreciated from growing up in the diverse neighborhood of Cupertino, CA. Cupertino is in the heart of Silicon Valley, so I knew of many adults who were scientists, software developers, lawyers, nurses, etc. Yet, I never considered pursuing any of those as a future profession. It wasn’t because I didn’t think I was capable, it was because none of the professionals I knew looked like me.

Without the encouragement of my family, friends, and teachers, I would have never ended up becoming and engineer; and later, an international consultant.

During my time as a consultant, I had the great opportunity of traveling to 20+ countries and was often one the only Black American. It was during these experiences that I fell in love with travel, language, music, taking in the significant sites, and partaking in the local traditions — culture. The more I traveled, the more I began to appreciate the amazing similarities among the cultures I experienced and people I met. I returned, an advocate for world travel. However, I was also reminded of the reality that not everyone has the resources or the time to travel as I had.

So, Culture Cookies accomplishes two things:
1) We provide a platform for underrepresented groups of people. Allowing them to control their own narratives, highlighting the things and people they value.
2) We help others discover what I learned while traveling: if we take the time to learn, appreciate differences, and celebrate where we overlap, the world would be a much better place.

Why did you design the cookie’s packaging the way you did? (With the info card inside the same packaging as the cookie)

The original Culture Cookies concept was inspired by the classic fortune cookie served at most (American) Chinese food restaurants. I thought the paper inside was a missed opportunity to educate patrons on something that might enhance their cultural dining experience.

However, the small slivers of paper found in fortune cookies were not large enough to hold all the information I wished to provide. The Culture Card insert solved that problem by providing more room for content along with a complimentary image on the opposite side to deepen the learning experience.

Finally, adding the QR code to the card insert provides easy access to even more content online, as well as to the Culture Cookies’ Continued Learning and Engagement software platform — a fun and exciting way to validate your learning. Plus, it provides the opportunity for a little friendly competition against your family, friends and coworkers.

What impact have you seen Culture Cookies make on customers?

I’ve received amazing testimonials from people including that the cookies helped folks learn something new and that our content helped improve their perspective or understanding of another culture.

One experience that touched me the most was when someone walked up to me in tears, because they were so touched to see “Persons with Disabilities” included in my content selections. Her son was a member—and she was an ally. That was a beautiful moment.

I am proud of what I’ve built with Culture Cookies and honestly, I hope my greatest impact is yet to come. My goal is for Culture Cookies to ignite future generations of young people to transform their family and community trajectories by inspiring new career paths, increasing income potential, and changing the world in a way they never had imagined possible before experiencing Culture Cookies. 

IP would like to give special thanks to Terrell Jones for donating his time and cookies to our students and families during Black History Month. Learn more about Culture Cookies here and try them out for yourself!