“I am a first-generation professional, and I’m in the business of people, ‘ says Adriana Dawson in greeting visitors to her Linkedin profile – that is after “Hola, I’m Adriana.” Dawson’s high energy, ”we can do this” persona is difficult not to notice, and self evident once you hear her speak, learn about her commitment to collaboration in the service of the community.
Dawson is the Community Engagement Director at Verizon. She drives strategy and execution supporting Citizen Verizon – Verizon’s responsible business plan delivering on its mission to move the world forward by addressing pressing societal issues through action.
She is also the host of US Tech Future, a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.
In a recent episode, Dawson interviewed Angela Bannerman Ankoma, Vice President and Executive Director of the Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI) at the Rhode Island Foundation. “I don’t take the work I do lightly,” said Bannerman Ankoma in answering Dawson’s question about her personal journey, and what led her to do the work she leads. “I know there are many people in our community who have similar stories like me. Who, if it wasn’t for initiatives or programs (like the ones supported by the Rhode Island Foundation) wouldn’t be where they are.”
While born and raised in Rhode Island, Dawson’s roots connect to the first Colombians to arrive in the state. Settling in Central Falls, her family assisted new arrivals with housing, employment, and other new world needs. Dawson was featured in the Latino Policy Institute’s #LatinosInRI series.
“Some of my earliest memories involve acting as a translator for my family and being sourced as a navigator for other newly arrived Spanish-speaking families,” she said. “I quickly learned the power of community, activating as a connector, and using my voice to assist others.”
Dawson said, “As an adult, I chose to leverage these formative experiences + my skills to continue the work on a larger scale to support greater societal impact and action.”
Last August she was named to the Providence Public Library (PPL) board of trustees. “The library is an anchor to so many in the community,” she said in a video message. “Particularly invisible populations, traditionally under-resourced, underserved groups.”
PPL received a $100,000 grant from Verizon to expand its technology-related education initiatives and workforce development opportunities in 2020. The grant, the library announced, would be used to help enhance equitable access to relevant skills needed to be successful in the digital age.
Dawson is also a first-generation professional. She came from hard-working factory workers who worked long days; family dinner conversations never consisted of stories of the office or their industry. Her lived experiences launched her career and have continued to guide her professionally these past 25+ years.
“I thrive at the intersection of social innovation + business development. I help lift the voice of community and systemically overlooked populations through dialogues, engagements, and thought partnerships to honor their history, narrative, and self-identified opportunities,” Dawson said.
LPI and RI Latino News; partners in elevating the visibility and voices of Rhode Island’s Hispanic-Latino communities.
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