Dr. Damon A. Williams
Dr. Damon A. Williams is a visionary and inspirational leader, and also one of the nation’s recognized experts in strategic diversity leadership, youth development, corporate responsibility, educational achievement, social impact, and organizational change.
He is a global thought leader having worked with more than 1,000 colleges and universities, Fortune 100 companies, foundations, and government agencies, as keynote speaker, strategist, educator, and social impact leader.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Higher and Post-Secondary Education (CSHPE), where he specialized in the area of organizational behavior and management. He received his master’s degree in educational leadership and his bachelor’s degree in sociology and black world studies both from Miami University.
As the University of Michigan celebrates her 200-year anniversary, he was recently awarded the Bicentennial Leadership Award, a one-time honor given to 20 trailblazing alumni, who exemplify the best of the academic and leadership values of the Universities 200,000 living alumni. He is also the 2017 recipient of the Western Reserve Academy – Waring Prize, the highest alumni award presented by the prestigious boarding school founded in 1826, to recognize exceptional leadership achievements to improve the human condition.
In 2013, he was awarded the coveted Inclusive Excellence Award of Leadership from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), and a leadership commendation from the 13 research universities comprising the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) for his landmark contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy globally.
As Associate Vice Chancellor, Vice Provost, and Chief Diversity Officer, he founded the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as a senior leader building the Division of Multicultural and International Affairs at the University of Connecticut, respectively. As scholar in residence for the American Council of Education (ACE) Fellows program and the American Association of Colleges and Universities Greater Expectations Institute, he launched his work nationally, helping hundreds of colleges and universities to transform their efforts in liberal education, STEM completion, improving student graduation rates, campus climate and inclusion, leadership development, faculty diversity, and curriculum reform.
Leading A National Movement to Empower the Centennial Generation
Disenchanted with his ability to truly expand the pipeline into higher education, and with his desire to empower a new generation of diverse leaders to enroll in college and pursue their dreams, he left his role on campus, to innovate a national movement, by joining the executive team of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
For four years, he served as senior vice president and chief education officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), where he led the program strategy for one of the most ambitious social impact plans in the history of the non-profit world, the Great Futures Campaign for Impact.
During his time at BGCA, he transformed the program strategy impacting 4 million Centennial Generation youth, those young people born after 1997 and coming behind the millennial generation. His work with national and local leaders generated an estimated 13B in return on investment impact in local communities annually.
During his time leading the BGCA Great Futures program strategy, he:
- Launched four National Centers of Excellence in the areas of, (1) Educational Foundations and Academic Innovation; (2) Leadership, Character, and Impact; (3) Teens, College, and Workforce Development; and (4) Health, Wellness, and Gender;
- Designed and led the program strategy resulting in nearly 500M in grants and gifts as part of the Great Futures Campaign for Impact with public and private partners including and not limited to Disney, Toyota, the Schwab Foundation, UPS, MLB, CDC, NSF, NASA, Taco Bell, Wallace Foundation, and Coca Cola;
- Led the turnaround of the BGCA’s 10-year decline in teen membership, resulting in the first positive membership growth (+2%) in more than a decade;
- Created BGCA’s first national STEM strategy, summer learning loss prevention program, and 21st century leadership skill development efforts;
- Established BGCA’s first higher education access and national workforce development initiatives designed to prepare the Centennial generation for leadership, establishing new partnerships that allow club youth to access more than 250M in annual scholarships;
- Launched BGCA’s first 24-7-365 digital youth education platform, My Future as a way of overcoming the new digital divide, providing digitally engaged, self-directed, STEM and multi-media learning experiences and opportunities for club youth globally;
A Trailblazing Scholar Leader
He is one of the founding architects of the “Inclusive Excellence Model” and is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on diversity, equity, and inclusion; chief diversity officers; student achievement; and driving social impact and organizational change in the higher education, corporate, k-12, and social sectors.
Dr. Williams authored the best-selling, Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation In Higher Education (2013) and co-authored the first book ever written on the CDO role, The Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management (2013). The presidents of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Council of Education (ACE), American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU), National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), have formally endorsed his scholarship.
He was a founding member of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, sponsored by the American Psychological Association, and contributed scholarship to the successful launch of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), the nation’s largest higher education diversity officer organization. He is also a member of the Journal of Negro Education Editorial Board.
His most recent publication is Voice, Choice, Access and Passion: Preparing the Centennial Generation for Leadership, one of the first publications on the Centennial Generation, youth born after 1997, and key strategies required to prepare them for leadership in a diverse, global, and interconnected world.
A New Chapter
Dr. Williams is completing his new book on the Centennial Generation, extending his landmark study on diversity capabilities in organizational life, and engaged in translational research efforts on the educational achievement of boys of color and STEM preparedness for all youth. He is also developing his new strategy and learning center, The Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Impact.