Recently, I sat down with Satrice Adams, Technical Support Analyst at Revenue.io, to hear her thoughts about Black History Month. Here are Satrice’s musings in her own words.
Black history to me is the celebration of culture and highlighting the plight of Black Americans throughout history. I think 3 simple things are important when celebrating Black History Month: 1. Acknowledgement 2. Contributions 3. Celebration.
The first person that comes to mind is my aunt Gwen Adamn Norton, who is married to Peter Norton of Norton Antivirus. She has had an illustrious career, including serving as a financial advisor for the Clinton Administration. Before that, she was a Senior Vice President & Business Banking Executive for Wachovia Bank where she took on the responsibility of tri-state business, banking operations and banking strategy. She had also been Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, and Commissioner of Finance for the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Gwen is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Aid to Artisans and Spelman College Board of Trustees. She is also part of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University and is on the Advisory Board to the Dean of Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Gwen has also studied at the International Center for Photography with several renowned fine art photographers. She draws inspiration for her photography from her international travels as well as places closer to home, engaging with the world with curiosity and passion. Her award-winning images have been featured in multiple exhibitions over the past few years. I admire my aunt Gwen because she has paved the way for Black women to do truly incredible things.
Being Black in tech is like being Black in America. You will always notice that you are the only Black person in the room. When you are Black in tech you are a minority in a territory that is incredibly slow in addressing race and diversity. The underrepresentation of Black people in the tech space started in the 70s–and in 2023 we are still trying to find where we fit in.
If you are Black and you are interested in or currently in the tech industry, know that it is not going to be easy. But never shrink yourself to fit in.
My grandfather Alton Adams Jr. was one of the first black students to attend Notre Dame University after the color ban was lifted, graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He then attended the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and began his career as an engineer with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, Calif.
Alton was instrumental in the design of the wing structure of the legendary U.S. Air Force Hercules military transport. He later joined the Air Force and earned his wings as a pilot, flying for six years and receiving an honorable discharge at the rank of captain. He returned to civilian life as a project engineer with the Civil Aeronautics Administration (now part of NASA), responsible for the design and inspection of airport tower facilities and equipment at airports in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York.
His professional affiliations included the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Professional Engineers and the American Association of Airport Executives. He received many accolades over the years, including certificates of appreciation from the Bureau of U.S. Customs and the American Legion. He was among the first group of Notre Dame graduates presented with the “Black Notre Dame Exemplars,” a recognition that he was particularly proud of.
Alton loved music, including all the classics and grand marching tunes. That’s no surprise, considering his father, Alton A. Adams Sr., was the first African American bandmaster for the United States Navy. Through Alton Jr.’s hard work and advocacy, his father’s achievements are recognized in his own section of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Alton Jr. was very proud to attend the opening of the museum in 2016 along with President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many others.
Here are some organizations worth donating to for Black History Month (and all year round):
I’m so honored to have spent some time with Satrice, and I hope you learned as much as I did from this conversation.
Heather Bakire is the Content Marketing Manager at Revenue.io, the complete RevOps platform for conversation guidance, sales engagement, and live call insights and analytics. Heather loves a good story, and she is passionate about international travel and all things outdoors.