The professionalism of Kenge Adams was something I noticed as I approached her in the lounge on the ground level of the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons to conduct our interview.
During our conversation, Kenge and I shared a laugh as she articulated to me what the role and duties of a project manager were. I quickly learned that this was just a glimpse into an incredibly accomplished woman. Kenge earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Parkside and a Master of Science in Communications from Northwestern University. After working for over fifteen years as a project manager for corporations such as FIS, Connecture, and Northwestern Mutual, she recently became an entrepreneur on a leap of faith with the mindset of wanting to take control of her career and have the ability to cultivate her own path. This was the catalyst behind her creating Connect Business Consulting: a consulting firm that manages the execution of projects and creates capacity assessments that adhere to her client’s vision, mission, and goals.
Despite her degrees and accomplishments, it didn’t take long to discover that Kenge operates from a place of gratitude and conducts herself in a lighthearted and humble manner. The first client to retain Kenge’s project management services through her firm, Connect Business Consulting, was Nadiyah Johnson and the Milkyway Tech Hub. Kenge is their Principal Consultant who is helping to manage initiatives and projects such as meetups, pitchouts, and events during the 2020 DNC. The Milkyway Tech Hub’s mission is to provide more diversity and inclusion within the tech fields and demonstrate Milwaukee as an emerging tech hub to cultivate an inclusive tech ecosystem.
Kenge first met Nadiyah when she oversaw the STEM outreach program for Northwestern Mutual’s Science Institute (NMDSI). Kenge reached out to Nadiyah for her data science expertise to help create the curriculum that was used in the partnership between Northwestern Mutual (NMDSI) and UWM’s college for kids program. An instant professional and personal bond was formed, which made it even more likely and mutually beneficial for them to work together now. Yet, as much history as they share, Kenge is also just extremely excited about Nadiyah’s vision and the Milkyway Tech Hub’s mission to cultivate an inclusive tech ecosystem.
In addition to working with Nadiyah and the Milkyway Tech Hub, Kenge is working with Morgan Phelps, owner of Colorful Connections. Colorful Connections is a staffing and recruitment agency that matches companies with skilled and diverse talent as well as assists professionals with their careers through professional development services and programs. Kenge sees this partnership as another opportunity to support the various sectors in the marketplace and help make it more diverse and inclusive.
Kenge believes that providing exposure to technology and resources for people of color, women, and people from under served communities is an essential step towards closing the gap of lack of diversity in the technology fields. Her advice to people who feel culturally isolated in the workplace is for them to start getting connected to like-minded and supportive individuals within their organization, regardless of role or department. She emphasizes that people should be involved in passion projects outside of work within their community. Kenge ultimately believes that organizations that embrace diversity and intentionally provide opportunities for all will have better results and more successful outcomes.