Emily R. Williams


Emily Williams is a strong leader whose practice and analysis is informed by intersectionality. For more than a decade, Emily has worked toward achieving an equitable world with a womyn-centered approach starting with the most-marginalized. As Senior Program Officer at the Solidarity Center, Emily designed a multi-year women's changemakers leadership program for activists from ten sub-Saharan African countries. The program culminated in several of the participants successfully negotiating an international convention and recommendation against gender-based violence at the United Nations. 

Emily is a diligent intrapreneur who has founder’s experience and has strengthened dozens of organizations’ capacity to incorporate social justice values into their mission and practice. In 2014, she co-founded the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she built the center from the ground up by securing resources through institutional and community partnerships. She also formed active networks and developed programs combining social justice practice with intellectual inquiry. This programming highlighted the interconnections of race, gender, class, and other systems as a critical foundation for work and action which advances social justice.  This intersectional analysis informed Emily’s approach to organizational change at the Solidarity Center where she designed an organization-wide educational process to increase intersectional equality and inclusion across the organization.

In addition to Emily’s professional roles, she has supported organizations through change management processes. Emily served on the Board of Directors for WomanMade Gallery in Chicago during a period of transition when the Founding Executive Director retired after twenty years.  Emily led the Board in developing a dynamic vision for the organization and strategies to expand partnerships and programs which led to an increase in the inclusion of artists and visitors from diverse backgrounds. 

She has a Master of Art in Women’s and Gender Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has worked in diverse settings to promote mental health and social well-being. As a volunteer with Girl Talk, Emily designed empowering programs with a trauma-informed approach for girls at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. She also worked as a Case Manager for adults with mental illness and addiction. This early-career experience proved foundational to Emily’s dedication to creating a more socially-just world that is better for everyone. 

In her free time, Emily enjoys checking out cool coffee shops, dancing, and watching foreign films every now and then!