February 22, 2021 20th Anniversary, Blog, Meet The Fund

Meet DJ Williams

As Associate of Engagement, DJ supports The Fund’s development and stewardship strategy. She also supports engagement opportunities for The Fund’s Leadership Council and Educator Advisory Committee.

Why is The Fund’s mission important?

Education is such an important lever in people’s lives because it helps sustain and build communities. Any good system needs strong leaders, and schools need strong principals. Through education we’re also building the future leaders, but it wouldn’t be possible without a solid foundation.

How have you “redefined leadership” in your own life?

I used to think leaders took on the workload by themselves and made all the decisions. Now, I think that the best leaders are those that rely on their teams and set good examples. They help create and maintain a good culture with the feedback of those around them. That’s the type of leader that I try to embody because it’s more sustainable and a lot more fun. It’s also about how I conduct myself and the mindset that I bring into the spaces I step into.

Was there an educator in your life who inspired you?

Ms. Sanders was the principal in my middle school, and she really believed in me. As a young person, I was very bright, but I also had difficulty obeying rules, especially when I didn’t understand the purpose of them. Ms. Sanders had a good relationship with my parents, and when I would get in trouble she made sure to help me understand why my actions were wrong. It was really helpful to know that someone was there to support me, and help me grow as a person. She took a hands on approach with me and the other students because she believed in being the person she needed when she was younger. That’s something that I’ve carried with me ever since.

What’s one thing about your role at The Fund that might surprise people?

I think my role is one of the few roles that has a hand in all of the work that other people do. Being on the Engagement team, we need to know the programs that principals are in and how we’re framing these programs. We also need to know about the work involving funders and operations.