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Michele Williers *
Michele Williers *
Michele Williers joins PEAK Parent Center as Executive Director with a 28-year-career in management and administration of community development and youth-serving agencies, including 22 years within the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS) network – a leader in youth development, child safety and protection.
Most recently, Williers served as the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of BBBS of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties. During her tenure, she expanded the agency to serve a newly constituted three-county region and within twelve years, it grew from being the smallest to the largest agency in New Jersey beginning with approximately 100 youth to serving well over 4,100 by 2019. Through her leadership, she was instrumental in growing the organization’s mid-level leadership team of five and overall staffing from one to 22 employees, as well as diversifying funding streams that increased revenue from $600,000 to $2.4 Million. Williers built a solid base of partnerships from a wide range of groups including churches, community-based organizations, universities, and corporations. She has also led several cross-sector grant-funded programs and research projects in the areas of workforce development and juvenile justice prevention.
Williers created many opportunities to raise awareness of underserved groups and communities and evidence-based solutions to pressing issues. In 2011-2012 she led a national marketing campaign on mentoring sponsored by the Ad Council. In 2016, she was asked to ring the Closing Bell at the Nasdaq in celebration of National Mentoring Month and in 2018 rang the NYSE bell as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters 10-year anniversary celebration event. Michele has also lectured at Rutgers and Saint Peter’s University on public policy, juvenile justice, and community engagement. A leader in youth development, Michele is currently co-authoring an evaluation study on the impact of mentoring on childhood trauma alongside Rutgers’s professor Dr. Paul Boxer. She has guest lectured on the topics of education, corporate social responsibility, diversity equity and inclusion, and social entrepreneurialism, among other themes. A noted speaker, Michele has also led press conferences on mentoring alongside state and national leaders including U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and NBC commentator Kate Snow. In 2011, Williers was a featured guest at the Newark Peace Summit headlined by the Dalai Lama. In 2020, she was featured by CNN in a segment, “Parents of teens with special needs find themselves alone in COVID-19 lockdown.”
Williers served on the Board of Directors for Summit Speech School (a school for children who experience hearing loss) alongside immediate Treasurer and Vice President for the Montclair Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) Board. There she led a volunteer group of parents and guardians providing support and information to parents and caregivers of children with disabilities. She was a voice who provided critical input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities.
She received her B.S. from the University of Tampa in 1994 majoring in Criminology and Political Science. She also received a certificate for non-profit management through the University of Tampa's MBA Program. In November 2015, she had the honor and was one of seventy-two non-profit leaders in the country to be accepted and graduate from the American Express Non-Profit Leadership Academy. In 2015, Michele was given the prestigious United Way “Legends” Award. In 2019, she was accepted into the highly selective Leadership New Jersey, a two-year public policy fellowship that brings together c-level executives and organizational leaders to develop cross-sector solutions. In her personal time, she also volunteered as a Big Sister (mentor). In 2020, her Little Sister (mentee) of 11 years graduated high school and will attend a four-year university.
Most importantly, Michele is a dedicated wife and a mom. She is the proud parent of a 23-week (17 weeks early) super preemie who was an identical twin. Unfortunately, one did not survive the prematurity. However, Ms. Williers has a wonderful child named Beck who is now 17-years old with a guardian angel, his brother Bryan Alexander, by his side. Beck experiences both vision and hearing loss. Williers is no stranger to the world of advocacy and navigating the medical and educational systems that PEAK supports families and individuals through.