Opal M. Jones, MBA

In 2012, Opal M. Jones became President & CEO of DOORWAYS as the agency’s second leader in its 36-year history. A 501(c)3 non-profit supportive services housing agency, DOORWAYS annually assists 3,000 people who have been homeless while battling HIV and other chronic conditions associated with poverty.


With an established career as an inspiring visionary in dynamic environments, Opal has led the agency through vibrant growth, now with a $16 million budget, 100 staff, six housing programs, and seven empowerment programs. In addition to an administration building, DOORWAYS operates 11 housing facilities that supply 230 apartments for low- to no-income households. This includes a licensed residential care facility with 24-hour nursing staff, emergency housing, transitional housing, permanent housing, and a subsidies program to prevent homelessness for people in their own housing.


The seven empowerment programs advance client stabilization and confidence, which are necessary in the pursuit of a more independent future:  behavioral health counseling, career services and job placement, food security, pharmacy assistance, life skills classes, one-to-one care coordination with referrals to additional resources, and holiday celebrations to build a sense of community and strengthen families.


Opal’s effectiveness originates from her servant’s perspective, programmatic expertise, and active monitoring of both the HIV and homeless environments. As new clients were facing escalating depth and breadth of need, she championed the creation of a new and more effective model of care. To reduce barriers, housing needed to become the portal to 360-degrees of services provided by DOORWAYS and partner agencies. Together, they would simultaneously and synergistically stabilize the environments impacting equity and opportunity—housing, hunger, medical services, behavioral health counseling, income/employment, education, community: the social determinants of health.


With the agency out of space, in 2017, Opal invited the Board of Directors to initiate a study to evaluate capacity for expansion. Data review resulted in the launch of a capital campaign. With a team of expert consultants, board members, client feedback, and staff support, combined with Opal’s energy and compelling evidence-based message, the campaign raised more than $40 million. The three-acre Jefferson Avenue Campus opened October 2022.


The campaign’s success is partially due to Opal’s charismatic personality that allows her to build strong strategic alliances, donor relationships, and government/civic support. Opal’s energy and honed business acumen have also earned her numerous recognitions: 


  • The CREW St. Louis Woman of Influence Award (2024)
  • Urban League of St. Louis’ Salute to Women in Leadership Award (2023)
  • On behalf of DOORWAYS accepted the Neighborhood Transformation Quality of Life Award at the Mayor’s Business Luncheon.
  • Advancing Equity Award, Affinia Healthcare Foundation Starburst Gala (2023)
  • Titan 100 Award (2023)
  • St. Louis City SC’s Exceptional Neighbor Award (2023)
  • St. Louis Business Journal C-Suite Award (2021)
  • St. Louis Bar Association’s Spirit of Justice Award (2019)
  • University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) School of Business Salute to Business Achievement Award (2019)
  • St. Louis Business Journal’s Diverse Business Leader Award (2018)
  • St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award (2014)
  • UMSL Distinguished Alumni Award (2013)
  • Focus St. Louis’ Coro Women In Leadership Program (2012)


She was President (2013-2019) of the National AIDS Housing Coalition in Washington D.C., where she met with national leaders, legislators, and government officials about HIV policies—and remains a board member. She served on the Missouri Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee (2014-2020) and continues as a member of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission Advisory Board (2014-present). She is a member of St. Louis Forum (2013-present) as well as a member of the Board of Directors for Rise Community Development (2022 to present) and The MUNY (2020-present).


Opal holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in Management and Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.