Q&A with Angela Adams, winner of the Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award

Q&A with Angela Adams, winner of the Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award

February 3, 2021

Angela Adams has been named the 2020 Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award winner.

Known for her ability to deliver results that matter, Angela is an experienced corporate and community leader motivated by serving people. As corporate communications and diversity officer for Goodwill Industries of SE WI and Metro Chicago, Angela is leading the organization’s strategy for corporate communications and community engagement, as well as guiding its diversity, equity and inclusion journey. Angela is a committed community volunteer serving on the board of directors for Froedtert Hospital, Carmen Schools, African American Leadership Alliance Milwaukee and is a dedicated member of the Milwaukee (WI) Chapter of The Links, Inc. A military wife and mother, Angela was recognized with the Wisconsin National Guard Partnership Award for 20+ years of service to military families.

We asked Angela a few questions about herself, including what receiving this recognition means to her.

United Way: What three words describe you? 

Angela Adams: As I reflect on this moment and what has brought me to a place to be recognized by United Way and my community, the three words that most resonate are: resilient, resourceful, and ready. 

What drives your passion for our community? 

People are what drive me, being of service to others. It’s not always hard - sometimes it's the little things. Yesterday I got a call from a woman who runs a community organization and she said “Angela, I have a situation and need help.” I couldn’t directly help her but I could connect her with someone in my network who helped her get what she needed within 24 hours. It took two sentences in an email to make that connection. That’s what drives my passion for community - bridge building - that’s how we get things done. 

Of your many accomplishments, which are you most proud of? 

When I thought about this question, I didn’t really think about career accomplishments. I am most proud of having the opportunity to love and be loved by my husband and my children. It will be 22 years married this year, and we have a family of amazing children. Being able to negotiate life with people you love and to be at peace to the best of your ability, to me that’s the most important experience one can have in life.

2020 was challenging in many ways, but what was a highlight or silver lining for you from last year? 

To overcome a challenge you have to first acknowledge there is a problem. And the political, social, and economic awakening that we’ve had as a society, no matter how painful, makes me hopeful. We now see, with 2020 vision, our current reality as human beings. The fact that we create differences by race and are now awakening to the fact that we need to hold each other closer as a human race is such a powerful outcome from 2020. 

What are you looking forward to as we enter the new year?

As an African American, the Black family reunion is a real thing! I’m hoping to be able to have a party with good food and good conversation with some good people without having to be distant. To be in the presence of others. To be able to walk through the market and exchange smiles with a stranger - and to be able to see that smile. 

What does winning the Linda McFerrin Award mean to you? 

When I was notified of the award, right away I thought about Linda McFerrin and started reflecting on her story. She is an example of selfless service, dedication, and community impact. The right story at the right time has the power to change the world, and Linda’s story inspires others to lead in the same way she has. This award is an intentional way to honor her legacy of service to the community. I’m honored to be part of that story and that legacy. 

Join United Way to celebrate Angela and all our award winners at our virtual Annual Meeting. Register here.

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