Joining Michael today is Deborah Williams, the founder of The Women’s Association. Through programmes that give women access to professional support networks that help them to grow in their careers and lives, and by engaging with corporations to ensure systemic change, The Women’s Association campaigns for a better world for women by changing cultures, systems and mindsets – a mission Deborah describes as “a burdening passion. Unlike anything I had ever experienced before.” Alongside success has been a journey where she has had to face challenges as a young, Black woman in business, having to prove the doubters wrong and, as she says in her tip for life, not letting the perceptions of others become her reality.
Deborah Williams founded The Women's Association in 2018, after being "awakened" by the realisation that being a woman in the world and especially in the corporate landscape comes with many challenges. This realisation came when she embarked on a journey of discovery for her dissertation, which explored the stories of women in leadership across industries. As Deborah embarked on her journey to create change, she found that she was personally burdened by the historically imposed expectations and stereotypes that dictated what was acceptable for her as a women trying to navigate her journey. This led her to want to create an organisation that works to change systems, cultures and mindsets that make women and girls feel like they have to be anything other than their authentic selves at work and in the wider world. Her hope is that through The Women's Association, girls can be given the information and support to dream, while dismantling the barriers that could prohibit them from making their dreams a reality. In order to do this, The Women's Association is working on educating and inspiring young girls, whilst building a strong community of women that can support them through their journey.