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.
- Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Listen in to the interview:
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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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