Adrienna (Adri) Maisonet Morales is Ms. International 2019/2020 and the Vice President of the award-winning, Enterprise Learning and Blue University at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). With over 29 years of leadership experience across various industries and disciplines, Adri has established a solid reputation as a trusted workforce development expert, thought leader, and motivational speaker.
With a passion for talent development, Adri serves on the boards of the North Carolina Business for Education, Durham Compact, Center for Talent Reporting, Chief Learning Officer, and the Durham Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Adri actively volunteers for a wide range of civic and community opportunities that aspire to bridge the gap of social determinants that adversely impact health, wellness, and prosperity opportunities for underserved and marginalized populations.
As an accomplished speaker, Adri enjoys sharing her knowledge across the country on topics that range from corporate learning, workforce development, self-love, body positivity, and a host of motivational and skill-building topics that inspires people to become their personal best.
Among many educational achievements, Adri holds a BS in Leadership Development, an MS in Organizational Performance from Bellevue University, and an MBA from Penn State University.
TSM: What things from your daily life make you happy?
AMM: As the Vice President of Enterprise Learning for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, I am privileged to do what I love on a daily basis. One of my core strengths is the ability to help people reach their full potential. In the days of COVID-19, as the world finds itself upended, refining existing and developing new skills is more important than ever. To that point, I am afforded opportunities to serve as a thought leader in the space of talent and workforce development. It is a lot of work, but I love it. When I am not on official Blue Cross NC time, I do quite a bit of life coaching, volunteering, and motivational speaking in the space of body positivity and self-love. In between those endeavors, I am out walking with my three-month-old puppy, Bentley.
TSM: Who or what are you grateful for?
AMM: Wow, there is so much to be grateful for in my life. Well, God is first in my life, so I am deeply grateful for my salvation and the grace and mercy that He extends me daily. I am also very thankful for my friends and family. As we all find ourselves spending more time alone, I have found that letting go of trivialities and being intentional about cherishing those that mean the most to me has been life-altering. I am also very grateful for the gift of good health. As one of my dear friends, Kellye Whitney, often says, “health is wealth!” With this in mind, I do my best to exercise daily and practice positive mindfulness to ensure balance.
As it relates to the pageant, I am grateful to be the reining Ms. International 2019-202, and to Susan Jeske, the owner of the Ms. America Pageant, for her vision to empower women of all ages, races, and sizes through pageantry. Finally, I am thankful for Ciata Kromah at KroCia, who has served as my style consultant and mentor along this wonderful journey.
TSM: Why did you enter the Ms. International Pageant?
AMM: I have been a pageant girl since my late teens and have always enjoyed the experience. After a series of challenging life experiences such as a successful battle with cancer, a divorce, and single parenthood, to name a few, I gained quite a bit of weight. With the biased narratives coming from mainstream media, espousing standards of beauty and success that that exclude many women, I jumped at the chance to compete in a pageant system that upholds the crown with a purpose. Because I don’t fit the image of your typical pageant girl, I knew that by competing, I would empower young girls and women of all ages to reject imposed barriers and love the skin that God put them in.
TSM: How did you feel when you won the title of Ms. International?
AMM: I was honestly speechless and very humbled. I knew that I had a chance because I was the People’s Choice winner, but I was not prepared for my name to be called as the winner for Ms. International. It was an extraordinary moment.
TSM: In one sentence, how would you describe this year for you?
AMM:2020 has been transformational for me.
TSM: What is your definition of success?
AMM: Big or small, success for me is attaining the desired outcomes of my goals, aspirations, and purposes.
TSM: Who are the people you want to help the most through your life?
AMM: I have a passion for helping marginalized and underserved populations, but I have the greatest opportunity to pay it forward with women. Specifically, as women, we tend to compare ourselves to others, which can be a derailing behavior.
TSM: What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
AMM: In 2021, I hope to be accepted into my doctorate program of choice. Additionally, I hope to continue to make a substantial impact on society as I do my part to help people become their best selves through various speaking engagements, volunteerism, and other endeavors. Finally, I hope to have my first book ready for publication by December 2021.
TSM: What are your biggest accomplishments?
AMM: I have a strong bias for results and have been exceptionally blessed. A few of my most significant accomplishments were winning several regional and state titles, successfully completing four degrees, becoming one of four Black Vice Presidents of a multi-billion-dollar organization, selected as the first Black woman to hold the title of Chief Learning Officer of the Year, starting my own LLC and becoming the first Black woman to win the national title of Ms. International.
TSM: Are you living your true self? And how?
AMM: Living your true self is the only way to live, in my opinion. I am fully aware of who I am as a person, a mother, a professional, and, most importantly, as a Christian. Because I have that degree of clarity, I am reminded of lessons from past mistakes, the promises of futures successes, and gifts that each day brings by being who and what God created me to be.
TSM: What advice would you give anyone who is not living their true self?
AMM: The first thing that I would advise people to understand is that you are wonderfully and uniquely created. Your beauty, your strengths, and your potential are not dependent on what others think or say. By trying to be anything other than who and what you are, you diminish the greatness inside. If you are diminished on the inside, your shine is diminished on the outside. We are all our best when we operate from a place of strength, and there is no greater strength than embracing the essence of your being. In this world, the most valued possessions are one of a kind. YOU are one of a kind.
TSM: How can you be contacted for speaking engagements or appearances?
AMM: For speaking engagement and appearances, I can be reached at: