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Adrienne C. McWilliams of ‘BRIDGE’: “Don’t be afraid to speak up and take up space”

For many women like myself, entrepreneurship is part of being a high performer or overachiever. I think for women like me, who are used to getting straight A’s throughout school and college, playing sports, etc., becoming an entrepreneur is a natural step. The challenge of entrepreneurship seems “easy” and you’re confident you can handle the […]

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For many women like myself, entrepreneurship is part of being a high performer or overachiever. I think for women like me, who are used to getting straight A’s throughout school and college, playing sports, etc., becoming an entrepreneur is a natural step. The challenge of entrepreneurship seems “easy” and you’re confident you can handle the setbacks and don’t realize things will go horribly wrong at some point.

When I hit my first setback, I felt like I was the biggest failure in the world and that I had embarrassed myself. But you have to learn to understand that every “bad” thing that happens is happening for you, not to you. There’s always something to be learned.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adrienne C. McWilliams — Co-Founder and CEO of BRIDGE.

Adrienne McWilliams’s vision is to change the paradigm of how people consume content and connect to what’s around them worldwide. Adrienne began her career in news media, and at age 25, started her journey as an entrepreneur. She successfully led her first company for 12 years — an agency that produced content in over 40 countries for global brands and helped build an online marketplace of tours & activities for a major cruise line.

Adrienne’s digital media experience and insight into video consumption have framed BRIDGE’s strategy in the OTT space with connected mobile devices. Recently, BRIDGE won 20,000 dollars in funding from the HI-HERImpact pitch competition, an initiative by Ford Motor Company Fund supporting women entrepreneurs who own socially-conscious, community-based businesses.

Adrienne has lived in Miami for over 20 years and is a graduate of Florida International University School of Communications & Journalism.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m someone who believes hindsight is 20/20. My personal journey began working in local news, which led to my passion for producing digital content. To date, I’ve produced videos in over 40 countries. I’ve always seen the power of video to inspire, inform and influence people and want to find ways to use video to provide people a different perspective and connect them to wherever they are in the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

When I launched Travelspective, a travel channel online and on Apple TV, we thought it would be for curious travelers interested in the destinations we showcased. It turned out that most of the engagement came from locals, whether it was Istanbul or New Orleans. This is one reason why we pivoted to BRIDGE Networks to connect people to what’s around them focused on building local networks.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve learned things will go horribly wrong at some point. When I hit my first setback, I felt like I was the biggest failure in the world and that I had embarrassed myself. But you have to learn to understand that every “bad” thing that happens is happening for you, not to you. There’s always something to be learned.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

BRIDGE is setting out to build the future of how people will connect locally around the world. We support small businesses and stimulate local economies by providing a sustainable infrastructure for local communications and media, which is imperative for our democracy to survive.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

We’ve been fortunate to work with over 30 social impact organizations in Miami. The number one thing we’ve learned is that people want to be seen and heard, and this is why we’re focused on amplifying and supporting communities through leveraging video to connect people.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Absolutely. First, we need to start building infrastructure that focuses on curation and verification of content on the community level. The proliferation of disinformation is harming our ability to know the difference between what is true.

Additionally, we need to demand a more accountable fourth estate with diverse representation and accountability to the people on the society level. Politicians need to hold big platforms accountable for the effects their businesses have on society.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

To me, leadership is defined as the ability to frame a vision that people want to get on board with while bringing out the best in others to accomplish that vision. Right now, we need more diverse leadership to solve problems and find solutions, and we will see a shift in what leadership looks like in our communities and across the country.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”, and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Patience, perseverance, and being resourceful are keys to success. Don’t be afraid to speak up and take up space.

For many women like myself, entrepreneurship is part of being a high performer or overachiever. I think for women like me, who are used to getting straight A’s throughout school and college, playing sports, etc., becoming an entrepreneur is a natural step. The challenge of entrepreneurship seems “easy” and you’re confident you can handle the setbacks and don’t realize things will go horribly wrong at some point.

When I hit my first setback, I felt like I was the biggest failure in the world and that I had embarrassed myself. But you have to learn to understand that every “bad” thing that happens is happening for you, not to you. There’s always something to be learned.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Through my work, I hope to inspire people to explore beyond social media platforms and demand something that better serves their time. I hope to create a platform that encourages online communication but instigates offline connection and allows them to truly see and connect to what’s around them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If your dream is only about you, it’s too small.” — Ava DuVernay.

I’ve played soccer for 13 years, and I’ve always loved being on a team and using team motivation to push myself past my comfort zone. Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build businesses that can solve problems and shape society, and we should all be building a future that is inclusive and mindful of everyone in our communities.

Is there a person in the world or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Kamala Harris. She’s a trailblazer in every position she has ever held, and I respect how she has taken up space for other Black women and made a difference through opposition. I find her very inspiring and excited to see the impact she will continue to make in our country, and now on a world’s stage.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow me on Medium, where I share more of my thoughts on the future of media and marketplaces: https://adriennecmcwilliams.medium.com/.

This was very meaningful; thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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