Notable Minority Executives: Ronald Adams

Vice president of field diversity and inclusion, Northwestern Mutual

  • Category: Notable Minority Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 6
  • Undergrad degree/university: BS, Business Management, University of Phoenix
  • Graduate degree/university: MA, Strategic Communication & Leadership, Seton Hall University

This past year, Ronald J. Adams, vice president of field diversity and inclusion of Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual, led his team and advised executive leadership in unprecedented times. He built a diverse team (83% women, 67% BIPOC) who helped lay the groundwork for creating inclusive cultures in 76 field offices nationwide, in an industry that is 82% white and male.

In 2020, Northwestern Mutual’s field force added 1,300+ diverse advisors, with an increase in women (48%) and BIPOC (22%) advisors. When the civil rights protests and unrest of last summer unfolded, his team and office leaders were prepared to guide offices in thoughtful responses through listening sessions, crucial conversations and sustained action. Most field offices also saw year-over-year production increases.

“(He) is the go-to executive for some of our most fastidious leaders offering one-on-one coaching and perspective,” said Gladys Manzanet, senior director of field diversity and inclusion at Northwestern Mutual.

Adams has been a key advisor for the African American Leadership Program and African American Leadership Alliance Milwaukee. He’s tapped to speak at industry and community-driven conferences – including the Professional Dimensions 2020 Virtual Ideation Summit. He was also recognized as one of North America’s Most Influential D&I Leaders – 2020 and Madison 365’s Black Power 2020: Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders.

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