Entrepreneur And Women’s Football Hall Of Famer Hopes To Empower And Inspire Others
Adrienne Smith, a Columbia University MBA graduate and professional women’s football player, is a woman of many talents.
Smith is the co-founder of two companies: Harlem Hip-Hop Tours, a business that leads tours around Harlem exploring New York City’s role in the hip hop industry, and Gridiron Queendom. Gridiron Queendom, which connects female football fans and players, grew from Smith’s own lifelong love for football. For her accomplishments, Smith was inducted into the Women’s Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
Smith’s interest in football began when she was just three years old, sitting in front of the television with her parents watching the NFL. As the players on screen tackled each other, Smith would tackle her teddy bear. Her passion for the game grew over time, and she joined the New York Sharks in 2006 and played multiple positions. She won Defensive Back of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year awards that season Having the opportunity to play in leagues as a woman is important to Smith, who told ESPN, “Getting to play football is a dream come true.”
A multiple time member of the U.S. National Tackle Football Team, Smith earned two gold medals at the International Federation of American Football’s Women’s World Championships. She also represented the U.S. at the international level in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016, while winning silver medals in her first three appearances.
Smith’s name will forever be “in the sports history books,” according to her website, as she recorded the first-ever touchdown in the history of women’s international football: a 52-yard catch at the 2010 Women’s World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden.
On the domestic circuit, Smith commutes to Boston from New York City to play for the Boston Renegades, a Women’s Football Alliance team and 2018 and 2019 league champions.
“As a female football player, I really wanted to be exposed to the best I could in terms of coaching, in terms of management, in terms of how the organization operates,” she told ESPN in 2016.
A self-described “renaissance player,” Smith has played many positions on the field, from quarterback, to free safety, and most notably, wide receiver.
On the field and off the field, Smith notes that she consistently strives to “empire” others, or empower and inspire. Whether that’s “empiring” the next generation of female football players or promoting the history of hip hop on the Harlem Hip-Hop Tours, Smith is proud of her impact.
Harlem Hip Hop Tours has “numerous letters and emails from parents, teachers, and principals who say that their child/student now has a greater interest in history, entrepreneurship, or the arts after having participated in one of our trips,” Smith told the Columbia Business School, “I know Harlem Hip-Hop Tour is making a positive difference in the lives of young people from around the world and this is a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”