2023 Onyx Woman Leadership Awards Honoree Carol Adams


Carol Adams is a Senior Systems Analyst and Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Coordinator for Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the highlights of her career includes serving as a liaison for ALCOSAN to work collaboratively with Federal, State, and Local Partners, with an emphasis on Critical Infrastructure and Homeland Security stratagems. Carol remains focused on our nation’s critical infrastructure protection through Homeland Security and Emergency Management initiatives while serving on various executive boards, work groups, and think tanks. She has spoken at numerous conferences, workshops, seminars, and forums throughout the United States. Carol has designed and participated in many federal-level exercises to evaluate the continuity of government (COG/COOP), emergency operations protocols, and organizational resilience.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Carlow College (University) and a Master of Public Management (MPM) degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Carol is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XX, the FBI Citizens Academy (2008), in addition to having the honor of serving on the InfraGard Pittsburgh Board of Directors for 14 years. Carol maintains various professional certifications and credentials through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), National Pro-Board (Hazardous Materials Incident Commander, and Hazardous Materials Safety Officer), Pennsylvania State Fire Academy (Non-Suppression Instructor), Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Allegheny County Fire Academy, and the American Red Cross.

Carol is the 2017 recipient of the American Red Cross Lifetime Commitment to the Red Cross Award. In 2018, she received the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Walk of Honor Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Hazardous Materials Technicians. Carol has served the region for 36 years as a career professional with ALCOSAN.

This year, our focus is on leadership and self-care. We would like for you to tell our readers how you incorporate self-care into your busy life.

Leaders are viewed as positive role models whose behavior deserves to be emulated and shared to enhance the lives of many. Good leaders lead by example. I often remind myself, “If you aren’t willing to make an investment in yourself, why, then, should anyone else? YOU are worth it!”

Self-compassion, patience, and trusting the journey while remaining engaged in the process are instrumental in self-care. “Each day, I promise to love myself more today than I did the day before.”

Understanding the importance of consistently incorporating self-care into daily activities requires a strategic approach. Self-care includes speaking positivity into each day, setting healthy boundaries, and intentionally creating opportunities for personal growth through introspection.

Most importantly, I remain eternally grateful for my many circles of influence that provide unconditional guidance, direction, motivation, strength, accountability, and friendship, which enables me to live my best life!

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