After several years in a key managerial role at Multnomah County, Jane Williams recently took over the reins of leadership at the nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance.
Williams, technology learning and development manager in an agency employing 5,600 people, became president of the PWA board of directors on July 1, leading a group of about 30 volunteers drawn from business, education and the public sector.
At the board’s September meeting, her first as presiding officer, Williams welcomed seven new board members and several special guests, and helped lead attendees through an exercise designed to support PWA’s mission and growth during the 2017-18 school year.
Here’s a snapshot of the new board president:
Personal: Originally from Canada and a graduate of the University of Victoria, Williams has been with PWA for about 4 years and with the county for about 7 years. She and her husband Tom have a teenage son, Zach. She is an avid runner and gardener.
Involvement with PWA: “One thing that impresses me most about this organization — and it’s one of the reasons why I love my job at the county — is there’s a strong tie around career development. We’re focusing on career development for youth. I think that’s valuable.”
Helping students: “The earlier we have them start thinking about their life and their career and what they’d like for the rest of their lives, however it may change and wherever it may take them, it’s really important.”
My experience: “I had the benefit of coming from a family of educators so I had that built in. It wasn’t whether I’d go to college but where and when.”
How I want to strengthen the organization and help PWA grow: “My focus is on growing the connections between board members, ensuring a robust opportunity for volunteerism for new members, and ensuring quality experiences for both employers and students.”