As one of the nation’s most esteemed educators, Dr. Adams helped to bring about the convergence of art and education in Chicago's museums and public schools. As founding Director of MAPS (Museums and Public Schools), she worked with teachers and museum educators to develop curricula that utilized the museums as a living teaching resource. During her tenure as an Administrator at the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Dr. Adams founded the Museum Consortium whose mission was for each major museum in Chicago to adopt a public housing development and mainstream its youth into their activities.

A consummate fund-raiser, she has raised over $400 million for a diverse and varied group of institutions of higher learning, governmental agencies, and not-for-profits. She was formerly the Chairman of the African American Studies Department at Loyola University; Director, The Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University; and most recently the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. 

Dr. Adams serves on the Board of Directors of the eta Creative Arts Foundation and the Harold Washington Research and Policy Institute. Awards and honors received include Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100,” Crain’s “2012 List,” the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award in the Arts, the Outstanding Humanitarian Award from the NAACP, and the Outstanding Leadership Award presented by the Senior Citizens of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Educated at Fisk University, Dr. Adams matriculated at Boston University, the University of Chicago, and The Union Graduate School. She was the President & CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History from 2009-2014.