Black History Month Employee Feature: Meet Adeja Spain
Throughout the month of February, Hornets.com will be featuring different employees across the organization’s multiple departments in conjunction with Black History Month.
Describe what you do with the Charlotte Hornets organization.
“I’m the Coordinator of Email Marketing. It’s my job to strategize, plan and execute all of the emails on behalf of the Charlotte Hornets and Spectrum Center. We have the opportunity to get to know our fans and better engage them in order to drive revenue in ticket sales. We also have the opportunity to work with several other departments – partnerships, arena, tickets sales and services – to understand their business, their priorities and things we can do to help push those efforts and support the things that they want to get out to the fans.”
What experience(s) have had the most significant impact on your career in sports?
“I never thought that I would actually work in sports. I’ve only played one sport in my entire life and that was soccer. I played for about five years and then at about the age of 13, that was when the game got a bit more intense and competitive. The coach at the time actually called my mom and I and said, ‘We love Adeja. She’s great, but we’re really concerned about her weight, how she’d be able to stay on the team and if she’d be able to match the competitiveness needed.’ Having to hear him say that and experience that at 13 years old was soul-crushing. Ever since then, I think that’s pushed me to go after things that seem impossible. I’ve always strived to run for positions or seek opportunities that looked like they weren’t possible just to prove that it was possible. I think that’s what drove me back into the sports business. Although I’m originally from Virginia Beach, I applied for several internships in Charlotte because I wanted to move here. I got denied from all of them except for the one from a sports team – the Charlotte Hornets. It’s kind of ironic how it all came full circle.”
What does Black History Month mean to you?
“For me, it’s a time to be reminded about what it means to be an African-American. It’s a time to not only just celebrate the great historic African-American people in the community, but to also reflect on the hardships they had to overcome. I think in celebrating, it gives us an opportunity to be better stewards of the privileges that we’ve been given and the strides that we’ve made. There are also opportunities to celebrate the best in the Black History community.”
How do you see yourself as a role model in the African-American community?
“I do consider myself a role model just because I believe I’m a definition of ‘against all odds.’ I experienced rejection, humiliation and isolation in several things that I’ve been involved in, but I never gave up. That’s the biggest thing. I’ve always remembered to work hard, stay humble and just speak everything that I want to have happen into the atmosphere. I think at no matter what stage you are in your life or how old you are, anyone can look up to somebody who has that mindset or is so relentless in everything that they do.”
Are there any influential African-American role models in your life?
“I’ve had several, but I think the one that resonates with me the most is my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Pamela Livingston. When I found out I was going to be in her class, I was terrified because I had heard horror stories about her. She was the most intimidating, candid and advantageous person I have ever met in my entire life. She taught me the value of taking advantage of my education, to demand respect and to be relentless with everything that I do. When she lost her battle to cancer my junior year of college, I was definitely devastated. I think if she had the opportunity to see how I grew up and became a young adult, she’d be proud of everything that I have accomplished so far. She actually taught my brother as well and we’re five years apart. She was really close with our family.”