Alumni Issue: "Good things will happen"

Friday, October 7th, 2016 at 12:50 PM
Alumni Issue: Good things will happen by Macala Leigey

Executive vice president of AT&T’s global customer service organization; recipient of the Eagle Award from the National Eagle Leadership Institute; listed as one of Diversity Magazine’s 2013 Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders; and receiver of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Edinboro University are just a few reasons why one would expect Xavier Williams to be an intimidating individual.

However, he’s far from it.

Williams, originally from Washington D.C., attended Edinboro University to pursue a degree in business administration from 1985 to 1989. During his time at Edinboro, Williams played on the university’s basketball team, was the president of the Minority Students United Club, pledged a fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, and served as an academic tutor for other students.

“I grew up in Washington D.C. I’d never heard of Edinboro University in my life,” Williams said.

 “Edinboro offered me both an academic and athletic scholarship. My mother is an educator so she didn’t tell me what to do, [but] I think she liked the idea of me having to achieve academically, so having both an athletic and an academic scholarship was the choice I thought was best — that would make her happy.”

Also influenced by his father, Williams chose to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in business.

“My father was a business man, and like a lot of folks, the hero[s] of my life [were] my mother and father. So I chose to pursue business like he did.”

After earning his undergraduate degree at Edinboro, Williams continued his post-secondary education by earning his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Pittsburgh, with which he started his career in the business field. 

“Edinboro greatly prepared me to get my master’s degree and then I started my career in finance,” Williams said. “[I] then moved into product management, then into sales and I’ve done jobs in human resources [and] customer service.”

Williams continued, “One of the things Edinboro taught me was [to] enjoy the opportunities that are put in front of you and don’t always limit yourself to a specific opportunity. I’ve had the opportunity to build what I would call a general manager background and being able to move from discipline to discipline, with the foundation of always knowing people, are key — it’s allowed me to move from place to place.”

Williams began his career with AT&T in 1990 and has held his current position of executive vice president for the company’s global customer service department since January of 2015.

Throughout his AT&T career he has received the AT&T Chairman’s Diversity Award; been listed on Savoy Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America; was recognized by President George W. Bush and U.S. Freedom Corps for his dedication to volunteer services; and he serves on the advisory board of Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement.

However, all distinguished awards and acknowledgments aside, Williams claims his family to be “by far” his greatest accomplishment.

“My family is my future. My wife — we’ve now been married 24 years — we have an 18-year-old daughter who’s in her second year at Howard University and an 11-year-old son in sixth grade. Just things I’ve been able to accomplish with my wife and family [are] by far my biggest accomplishment[s],” he said.

Williams and his family now live in Southlake, Texas, but stay involved with the Edinboro community and Edinboro University by funding the Xavier D. Williams Business Speaker Series Endowment and the Xavier and Tina Williams Summer Youth Business Academy at Edinboro.

Both the speaker series and summer business academy were established to provide young scholars with the opportunity to expand their knowledge within the business field and make connections with successful business leaders. The speaker series was first established in 2004, while the summer academy has been offered for the past five years, making it Williams’ most recent endowment at Edinboro.

“Give money back to the schools so the next generation can benefit too, that’s real important,” Williams said.

He also offered advice to current Edinboro University students.

“Embrace everything you can. You’re never going to meet better people than you will at Edinboro, and if you learn some simple values — appreciating people and just really enjoying the opportunity you have — it will carry over to your career and when you become an alumnus.”

Williams continued, “The most important thing that I’ve learned at Edinboro, that’s transferred into the corporate world, is relationships and trust of people. When I attended Edinboro I learned a lot about people, how to work with people, how to collaborate with people, and that’s the key to success — it’s always about relationships and how you treat people.”

It is clear Xavier Williams is not a boastful executive, but rather a humble individual who has succeeded in life by following a lesson he learned long ago at Edinboro University: “Good things will happen if you treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Macala Leigey is the News Editor for the Spectator and can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com

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