Adanta Ahanonu

Cues and Views

Nonprofit trailblazer Adanta Ahanonu, in brief.

Adanta Ahanonu

Home: Oakland, CA. Birthplace: Tucson, AZ.  Profession: Workforce development nonprofit. Organization: COOP Careers.  Title: Chief Program Officer.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: Boston University (B.S.); University of Pennsylvania (M.S.).

Recent recognition: Speaker at the Blacks in Technology 2022 conference (BITCON).  Recent professional development: Joining Chief, a private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there.  Latest accomplishment: Recently earned my master’s degree while working full-time.  Each day was an accomplishment.  Latest contribution to others: Serving on the Rivet School board.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Leaving the private sector to join a nonprofit. Hobbies: Running, spinning, dancing, hiking; belting out Broadway tunes when no one is around.  Last book read: Faith Musing, by Halleemah Nash.  Recently listened to and recommended: The Sista Circle podcast, hosted by Faith Alaribe.

Personality profile: ENFJ; Achiever, Developer, Includer, Discipline, Woo.  What is your greatest joy? My blood and chosen family.  They are truly amazing.  What is your greatest fear? I tend to not get along with spiders.  At all.  What is your guilty pleasure? Binge-watching Dancing with the Stars.  What natural talent have you neglected? I would definitely say singing, but friends may disagree.  In that case, dancing.  What’s something you were scared to do, but did anyway? Skydiving.  How do you relieve stress? Drinking tea, exercising, journaling and intentional breathing.

What book have you repeatedly read? The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Cool Runnings.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? My vision board and my sister’s artwork.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Among many, my long-time mentor, Shiney.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? Feedback is a gift.  Also, maintain a growth mindset.  What is your favorite app? A close call between OneNote checklists and Shine meditation.  What’s one item you can’t live without? My space heater.  I’m always cold.  What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? Beyoncé’s 2018 Homecoming performance at Coachella.  

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

Ensuring that first-gen and low-income college grads have the peer connections they need for the financial futures they deserve.

What change would you like to see in the world? Greater empathy.  What message do you want to send out into the world? If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. Let’s choose the latter.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? You may have already heard about it.  It’s called 27 Dresses.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Yvonne Orji.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My childhood friend, Nick.  He left us too soon and would always make me laugh until my stomach hurt.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A pediatrician.  But I soon realized I don’t do well with blood.  What advice would you give your younger self? Your career work will not be equal to your life’s worth.

Personal mission: Aspire to inspire.  Personal motto: Lift while you climb.  Favorite quote: “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself” (Oriah Mountain Dreamer).

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