Go-getter Williams joins UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board
May 13-19, 2019
By Cait Smith
Mike Williams, a longtime employee for PepsiCo, has been invited to serve on UA Little Rock’s Foundation Fund Board for another year. He expressed his gratitude, “It feels good to be a part of UALR. What’s unique about the foundation is the fact that what we’re doing has a positive impact on the education, growth and development of the students.”
Williams, a native of North Little Rock, Arkansas took another route before obtaining his degree. He looked for work and found PepsiCo. From a driver to management, Williams worked his way up the ladder and learned some valuable lessons along the way. “At first, it was just a job providing for my family and myself, but to learn that we give back to the community as an organization was great,” he said. One organization PepsiCo works with is Food for Good – an operation that delivers servings of nutritious foods to low-income families.
After a time, Williams received a bachelor’s degree in business from Philander Smith College specializing in organizational management. With his career underway, it was the perfect lead to a partnership between PepsiCo and UA Little Rock.
After being invited to attend a ball game, what he expected to be an ordinary day of entertainment turned out to be the deal of a lifetime. He explained, “Bob Denman – who was the lead of the development team for UA Little Rock at that time – came over and had a conversation with me. We talked about what I do at Pepsi.” A contractual agreement between PepsiCo and UA Little Rock was made that following year and has been in place ever since.
Aside from his career, Williams is committed to giving back to the community. Knowing what it means to be a father and having a solid relationship with his son directed him to want the same for others. So much so that he and his son took the necessary steps and started Foundation Father Inc. – an organization that educates young men on their parental rights.
“The laws in the state of Arkansas says that the mother has 100 percent custody when a child is conceived out of wedlock,” he explained. “The father has rights; he just doesn’t know what his rights are.” Through Foundation Father Inc., men are given the opportunity to be engaged in their child’s life. Williams looks at the bigger picture when it comes to these types of issues. “When you look at the bad things that are happening with crime, healthcare, and education – it’s just enough to say, ‘Hey, if I can help one person, that’s what it’s all about,’” he said.
Another organization Williams is proud to be involved with is the Pi Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi. He first served as the vice president for four years prior to being elected as president. “What I love is that these college men are all educated and come from all walks of life,” Williams explained.
Whether in his career or the community, Williams knows how to play the game. He thinks the key to any healthy career is communication. “I believe in being honest with people. You tell them the truth … tell them what you can and cannot do. They’ll respect you for that.” Williams has certainly earned his respect over the years as he is being asked to serve another term on the Foundation Fund Board. Williams accepted the offer again because of the good it brings. “To see the faculty engaged in helping these students better themselves – that is major,” he said.
The UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board members are ambassadors of goodwill to the school and community of Little Rock. They meet four times out of the year to oversee the activities of the foundation fund. They are expected to make an annual contribution, participate in an annual fundraising campaign, and be involved with matters related to public higher education.
Williams is a positive light in the eyes of others. He encourages everyone to latch on to someone positive and run with it. “One thing I say is always leave with more than what you had when you arrived. Most importantly, always be prepared for what’s to come,” he said.
One thing is for sure, Williams is prepared.
Source: Some information taken from UA Little Rock Communications and PepsiCo.