Ep 66: A Love Letter to Friendship with Desiree Lynn Adaway and Pamela Slim

Ep 66: A Love Letter to Friendship with Desiree Lynn Adaway and Pamela Slim

What a joy and honor it was to hold space for reflective conversation with two change-making women who have an epic friendship that has spanned more than three decades, Pamela Slim and Desiree Lynn Adaway.

The two met on a hill in Northern California on the first day of college at the age of 18 and have been best friends ever since. From completely different lived experiences, Desiree is a black woman from the south side of Chicago, and Pamela a white woman from Marin in the San Francisco Bay  Area, they unite around common interests and connections that transcend while never forgetting their differences. They love each other’s families fiercely and fight in their own unique ways and in their own communities for inclusion, equity and justice.

Mother to two grown daughters, Desiree is also a consultant, trainer, coach and speaker working to build resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations. Holding a vision for people’s lives, workplaces and communities until they can hold it for themselves, she has committed over 20 years to creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. She also teaches and advocates powerfully in the online space and in a course I took from her and her partners called Diversity is an Asset.

Pamela is an award-winning author, community builder, consultant, speaker, and small business strategist. Alongside being a step mother to an adult son and raising her two teenagers, she’s also the founder of The Main Street Learning Lab in downtown Mesa, where she works to increase the effectiveness, equity, and visibility of small business owners from marginalized communities including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, and to connect these business owners with the rapidly growing opportunities in Mesa, the Phoenix metro area, and beyond.

Being deeply seen and deeply understood is a theme that runs through this conversation, as we explore the ways that Desiree and Pamela experience the epic guideposts in their lives and in their friendship.

I felt like the entire conversation was a love letter to friendship and a call to action to risk being known, knowing others, expanding our perspectives and championing diversity. I hope you’ll listen with an open heart and leave this conversation as I did, committed to the specific challenges that Pamela and Desiree offered us and inspired to show up every day as a better ally and a better friend.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee is the founder of Inclusive Life™ and mom to Madison and Zindzi. She is also the co-founder of the Lee Bayard Group LLC and Black Movement-Law Project (BMLP).

Nicole Lee is a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, leadership coach, nationally recognized speaker and strategist who regularly consults with nonprofits, schools, businesses, and political and social movements to improve their climate for themselves and all those that they serve.

Nicole is a prolific speaker and commentator who has regularly appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and BBC. She has been recognized for her outstanding contributions in the private and public sectors through numerous awards, including Congressional Black Caucus, Running Starts “Women to Watch”, Black Women’s Roundtable TrailBlazer and Global Leadership and the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s Press Champion Award.

Nicole is also an attorney and nonprofit leader, having formerly served as the first female President of TransAfrica, the nation’s premier African American foreign affairs organization. She, along with civil and labor rights icon Bill Lucy, was the coordinator of the Life, Legacy and Values of Nelson Mandela, a six-month national celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela and his US Memorial Service at the National Cathedral. She is a founder of the BMLP, a legal organization affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives.

Visit Nicole Lee’s Website:

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In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The beautiful birthday letter Pamela wrote to Desiree and posted on Facebook that inspired me to record this episode
  • Pam and Desiree’s life before they became best friends, how they found each other and how they’ve shaped each other’s lives since
  • What the bracelet Desiree wears every day says and how it connects to her motherhood, her work, and her life journey 
  • How I learned from Desiree that allyship is a daily commitment and how that connects to how Desiree and Pamela approach their friendship 
  • What it looks like to be in right relationship
  • What Desiree means when she says “Pam never remembers that I’m black and she never forgets that I’m black.”
  • The “Sister Resister” card Desiree pulled from her deck that connected perfectly to this conversation
  • The epic snapshot moment of Pam’s with her own daughter that Desiree says exemplified Pam’s self-awareness and lack of ego
  • Dismantling and examining cultural norms and creating our own definition of culture
  • Pamela’s and Desiree’s challenges for us to expand our own awareness and perspective of diversity by reading books only of authors of color for 3 or 6 months (you choose!) and to notice in our spaces and places who is and isn’t being represented

Mentioned from this Episode:

This Week’s Challenge: 

For this episode, Pam and Desiree challenge us to take 3 to 6 months of reading books that are from people of color, if you’re a dominant identity or if you’re white. While you’re at it, you’ll notice how your perspective and view of the world around you will change.

Another challenge… when you are in any situation, school, work, office, ask yourself “who is here?”, “who’s not here?”, and “why aren’t they here?”. Answering these questions will raise your level of awareness, and help you bridge the gap that exists in the areas where we are not seeing diverse representation.

Learn More About Desiree:

Desiree is a seasoned nonprofit consultant and facilitator. All of her presentations have a mix of thought-provoking content presented with humor and wit. When she teaches, she makes a point to connect with every person and create a safe space for their growth. She is known by staff, senior leadership, peers, and partners as being great at open, honest, and productive conversations. She is not afraid of addressing anything that gets in the way of great work. Her style is positive, approachable, engaging, service-oriented and audience-centered.

Email her @: desiree@desireeadaway.com

Connect with Desiree:

Learn More About Pamela:

Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, community builder, consultant, speaker, and small business strategist. She is the founder of The Main Street Learning Lab in downtown Mesa, where she works with business owners to remove obstacles to small business success and test and try new business ideas.

She is best known for her book Escape from Cubicle Nation (named Best Small Business and Entrepreneur book of 2009 from 800 CEO Read) along with her follow up book Body of Work. Both were published by Penguin/Portfolio.

Pam is frequently quoted as an expert in publications such as BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Money Magazine and Psychology Today. Pam lives in Mesa, Arizona.

Connect with Pamela:


Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

As this episode is released, we are just days away from the two year anniversary of the Charlottesville Rally. I remember waking to the news the next day and deciding I had a responsibility to use my voice and the platform I’m building with the Mother’s Quest Podcast to pursue social justice. Many said “yes” alongside me and The Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative was born.

First season episodes, with a focus on anti-racism and police brutality, are up at www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com, and episodes I recorded for our second season, on the intersectional impact of gun violence, are assembled on the latest Mother’s Quest Blog.

Last weekend’s events, two mass shootings within 24 hours, blasted our consciousness with the work still ahead and urgency to fight gun violence and also the racism tied to these events. I hope you’ll follow the links in the show notes to the episodes recorded and that they might shine some light on a path forward. Because, as my guest on this episode’s podcast Desiree says, we only get free together.

Want More Reflection in Your Life? Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from this conversation with Amy Simpkins, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Did you catch the Father’s Day Special?

Listen to these two amazing fathers who were on the show here:


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Nicole Lee

Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/