Mr. Williams goes to Washington

FAMU alum Alan Williams with President Biden, left and Vice President Harris. Photo courtesy: Williams

In the heart of Washington, D.C., where decisions are made and the nations future is crafted, one Florida A&M University alums journey from the hill to the White House is a testament to the transformative power of education and community.

Alan Williams, White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, is a seasoned leader and dedicated public servant.

Williamspassion and commitment to uplifting underserved communities is evident in all his work, deeply influenced by his early years at FAMU. Born and raised in Tallahassee by a single mother, Williams was immersed in a culture that celebrated diversity and encouraged academic excellence.

It was at FAMU, however, where his true potential began.Williamsacademic journey began in 1993, marked by diligence and determination.

As a business administration student in the five-year MBA program, Williams became passionate about public service and focused on his studies while participating in various student leadership roles.  

While at FAMU, Williams was in the Student Government Association for all five years, serving as a student senator and judicial and rules chairman. In this role, he also wrote and passed legislation that created the Venom Express bus system, which still runs today.

Williams credits FAMU for the strong foundation the university provided him.  

It all began at FAMU when I was in SGA. We were all working to bring back the law school, and the legislators were trying to keep FAMU from growing. FAMU gave me that foundation and ability to achieve anything,Williams told The Famuan. FAMU instilled in us the mindset that if we put our mind to it, we can be successful for not only ourselves but those that come behind us too.

Williams work did not stop in the classroom or the SGA office; he also served as an active member of the FAMU chapter of the NAACP, College Democrats and Polemarch of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.  

Williams reflected on his time at FAMU and the importance of the relationships he built in his various affiliations.  

FAMU taught me at an early age that it is dependent upon the students to not only do their classwork but to make the most of their college experience by ensuring they get to know others because, at some point in life, you will all need each other. Life moves at the speed of relationships,Williams said.  

Williams’ commitment to mentorship also attests to the lessons he learned at FAMU.

After graduation, Williams was the chief of staff for Tallahassee Mayor John Marks before being elected to represent District 8 in the Florida House of Representatives, where he served the maximum four terms.

Throughout his career, he has made it a priority to mentorthe next generation of leaders and share his wisdom to guide them along their own paths to success. One mentee, Jayden Flemming, reflects on Williams’ impact on his journey.

Alan has been an invaluable mentor to me,Flemming said. His guidance and support have greatly influenced my career on campus and in the real world.

After graduating from FAMU with honors, Williams embarked on a career dedicated to serving his community and advocating for those whose voices often go unheard. His commitment to public service led him to various roles in government and nonprofit organizations.

Williamsdedication and leadership caught the attention of national leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who recognized his potential and appointed him Senior Advisor for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Williams says the lessons learned at FAMU translate to his current role.  

Starting there (at FAMU), I have taken all the lessons Ive learned now to Washington, D.C., to make sure the vice president is as strong as she can be for all Americans,Williams said. Each day in my role is working on behalf of the vice president with mayors and legislators across the country to make sure we are moving the administrations mission forward and being there for local communities to navigate the federal system.

Along with direct mentorship, Williams’ journey also inspires current FAMU students to strive for greatness daily. Graduating political science student Raghan Pickett said, After graduation, I plan to study for the LSAT and apply to law school with hopes of one day working in policy, so its very encouraging seeing an alum like Alan Williams in spaces I one day hope to be in. He embodies the values and principles I aspire to uphold in my own career.

As Williams continues to navigate his growing career in politics, he stands as an advocate for progress and driving positive change.