At one point or another, everyone has to overcome adversity.

In the case of Dr. Monica G. Williams, the Vice President for University Advancement and the President of the University of North Texas at Dallas Foundation, she was faced with a particular hardship that could have easily derailed her career success.

“I was a single mom at the age of 18, choosing not to attend college immediately upon graduating from high school,” said Williams. “Knowing the importance of a college education and wanting to be an example for my daughter, I packed my backpack and packed my daughter's. When she went to kindergarten, I went to college. We’ve been a pair ever since and it has been most important for me to keep education first and that’s how I’ve overcome adversity.”

Williams went on to earn three degrees, with her bachelor’s and master’s garnered from Texas Southern University. She later received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership from Prairie View A&M University.

Thanks to her success at Texas Southern (Director of Development), PVAMU (Associate Vice President for Development) and Rice (Director of Development), Williams is regarded as one of the most respected professionals in the university development world. After stints with HoustonWorks USA (Director of Administration) and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (Regional Managing Director), Williams landed back in the college ranks, this time at UNT Dallas in July of 2016. 

“In my industry, there are few professionals of color,” said Williams. “Typically, those who launch a career in fundraising are Caucasian females. It has really helped to blaze a trail to be one of few in this industry.”

What’s been the secret to her success? Making decisions that were not easy.

“The tough decisions I've made are the ones that were most meaningful and they’ve been the ones that have guided my path,” added Williams. “I’m thankful for everything that I’ve gone through to get to where I am now.”