Empowering Young Professionals of Color

Empowering Young Professionals of Color

Name: Desiree Adaway

Title:  Founder and Principal 

Contact: @DesireeAdaway, Desiree Adaway on FB, DesireeAdaway.com

Company: The Adaway Group

What They Do: Consults and coaches with organizations and individuals. She helps to create sustainable organizations and movements.

Originally From: South side of Chicago 

College: A little hippie college in Northern California; a year in Mexico and then transferred to a school in Chicago (Concordia University) 

Field of Study: International Development at first but changed to social work.

Recommended Books: 

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Empowering Young Professionals of Color

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A Few Notes From the Show:

  • 95% of her clients are activists.  They are in movements.
  • Highlights and supports amazing leaders throughout this country and abroad.
  • Activists are people who campaign for some kind of social change.  They are involved in social or political movements.
  • I quote Lupe in this episode, "Listening to Pac ain't gonna make it stop."  "You'll never be a factor if you're not an actor."
  • You can be active, out there fighting , doing. You can be a passive; agree with what's happening but not doing it.  You can be neutral or on the fence.  You can be passively opposing it; you don't agree with what is happening but you are not actively stopping it.  You can be actively opposing it.
  • What's that invitation to get others to become active?
  • 16-18yrs old was in Europe by herself traveling and studying.
  • Her original plan after college was to go dig wells in Africa and change the world.
  • Saw a lot of issues in a place in Mexico where she was studying and it was the same issues she saw back in the South side of Chicago where she grew up.
  • Came home with a lot of questions: "why am I in Mexico and why aren't I in the South side of Chicago?
  • Transferred from a small "hippie" school in northern California to Concordia University in Chicago (when from a very liberal place where everyone thought like her to a very conservative place where no one thought like her).
  • Was the first person in her family to get a passport when she decided to go to Europe.
  • We spoke about what gave her the courage to leave the country by herself at 16.
  • You have to hear her story about being in Northern Germany for 2 years; as she put it, "I was supposed to be going to school."
  • She didn't come back to the U.S. until her mom asked her if she ever going to come back and graduate from high school.
  • Her original plan was to just go and get a GED because she wouldn't have any grade from her time in Europe (she didn't go to school).
  • She had a teacher who helped by asking, "tell me everything you did while in Europe."  Desiree did and the teach did her "teacher magic," and she was graduating.
  • She used to be a probation officer.
  • She never thought she would work for herself.
  • Shares her timeline with us.
  • Ran summer camps
  • Ran a girl scout camp
  • Worked a community program in Milwaukee
  • Then Marriage ended and went back to Chicago where she worked as a contractor for United Airlines
  • Then as a contractor for IBM which became a full time opportunity
  • Worked for herself for a bit for dot com companies.
  • Went back to the private sector because she was a single mom.  It was really tough to find secure work.
  • Worked for Rotary Foundation
  • Then Habitat For Humanity, Senior Director for volunteer mobilization globally for them.
  • Then started her own company.
  • You have to be a risk taker.
  • Sometimes you have to take two steps back to go forward.
  • You have to know what you are willing to sacrifice.
  • She could have shrunk but she choose to expand.
  • She calls total bullshit on being asked to simmer down.
  • Powerful to show our work while we are in the middle of it.
  • "Nothing of importance was ever created in isolation."

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