Katrina Adams, CEO of the United States Tennis Association, came to Queens College to speak for Black History Month. She was introduced by QC President Felix Matos Rodriguez, who named her many accomplishments, Adams being the first black CEO of the Tennis Association, youngest CEO, and the first person who previously played Tennis to achieve the position.
“We are not worthy of being in her presence,” President Matos joked while reading off Adams’ accomplishments. Beyond her business achievements, Adams is also a contributor to the CBS Sports show “We Need to Talk,” and a winner of the NCAA doubles title. Adams graduated from Northwestern University, where she majored in communications.
Adams also contributes to various disenfranchised communities, because she wishes to see more minorities playing tennis and getting engaged with the sport, which is why she created the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program.
When Adams came to the stage, she did not shy away from talking about the various disadvantages people of color and women face when trying to pursue their dreams, but she stressed being educated, saying “education is the biggest weapon you can use to change the world.” Adams also advised students to “use [their] head and heart to bring about change. Real positive change.”
Adams says her drive as a child, and then a teenager, to be the best tennis player is what motivated her. She made sure everyone knew her determination to play tennis exceeded her drive to do anything else, and mentioned, that through tennis, she learned excellent time management skills.
However, while Adams talked about her self-determination, she also remarked that her success was not achieved all by herself, and gave a lot of the credit to her doubles partner, Diane Donnelly.
Adams mentioned that her partner was her “mentor,” who taught her not only about tennis, but about life. She also credited her success to her coaches and professors, who taught her how to manage her time effectively.
After her speech, Adams did a brief question and answer session, where she was asked about everything, from who she played against to her biggest rival: who surprisingly wasn’t Serena Williams. Adams joked with the crowd when asked about what she misses about college tennis, the first thing she said she doesn’t miss, is “waking up early every morning to workout!”
Katrina Adams was an ideal speaker to have during the last few days of Black History Month, as she showcases numerous strengths as a black female in today’s society, holding perseverance, dedication, and hilarity in the face of everything. Watching her speak, it is clear Adams projects herself with an admirable level of confidence and self-assuredness.