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Terrie Williams  

Public Relations Expert & Activist

The story of Terrie Williams is one of phenomenal inspiration. The founder of The Terrie Williams Agency—one of the country’s most successful public relations and communications firms—Williams has handled the biggest names in entertainment, sports, business, and politics. In 1988, she founded the agency that bears her name and her first clients were Eddie Murphy and jazz legend Miles Davis. The agency has handled Janet Jackson, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Johnnie L. Cochran, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Time Warner, HBO, AT&T, and Essence Communications Partners. Today, the agency is a division of PGP Communications, a multimedia firm that develops cause-related campaigns for personalities, products, and entities.

Williams is the author of three successful books: The Personal Touch: What You Really Need to Succeed in Today’s Fast-Paced Business World is a perennial business bestseller; A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony through the Seven Living Virtues is a resource to help achieve balance in daily life, reconnect with one’s heritage, and identify the needs of the soul; and Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens is used as a blueprint in school curricula and resulted in the 2001 launch of The Stay Strong Foundation, a nonprofit for youths.

One of the country’s most highly sought-after speakers, Williams has shared her unique brand of talents with numerous Fortune 500 companies and organizations, including New York University, The New School for Social Research, The National Football League, The National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League.

She has also dealt with and managed chronic depression for almost half her life. Her story was featured in the June 2005 issue of Essence magazine to an overwhelming national response, as well as in several newspapers. Today, Williams presents nationwide seminars and workshops on her continuing ordeal with depression, and shares her inimitable story of candor and hope with thousands. Her advice on how to recognize symptoms and reclaim the soul helps many to manage depression in their lives.

Williams’s success story has been featured in Savoy and Essence magazines, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Ad Week, The New York Daily News, and Crain’s New York Business. The Agency’s history has been used as the basis for public relations seminars and college classes. Williams is even featured in college textbooks, industry newsletters, and novels. Her early career began as the tale of a caring, shy young woman who wanted to “save the world.” This mentality lies at the very core of who she is and is reflected in her work and community service. That driving force today is seen in the efforts of The Stay Strong Foundation, which encourages corporate and individual responsibility, develops educational resources, offers leadership workshops, apprenticeships, and field trips for youths and youth organizations, and provides internships and mentoring opportunities.

Williams’ awards and honors include The New York Women in Communications Matrix Award in Public Relations (the only woman of color to be so honored in the award’s 35-year history), the PRSA New York Chapter’s Phillip Dorf Mentoring Award, and The Citizen’s Committee for the New York Marietta Tree Award for Public Service. In 1996, Williams was the first person of color honored with the Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana—the lectureship is recognized as one of the most preeminent in public relations. And to commemorate her agency’s tenth anniversary in 1998, her collection of business and personal papers were donated to the archives of Howard University’s Moorland-Springarn Research Center (the world’s largest, most comprehensive repository of works of, for, and about people of African descent, which houses works by such legendary figures as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Alice Walker). Williams pens a monthly column called “The Personal Touch” in Savoy and is a regular contributing panelist to National Public Radio’s “News and Notes.”

Williams has a BA, cum laude, in psychology and sociology from Brandeis University, and an MS in social work from Columbia University.

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Speech Topics


The Psychology of Success

There Are No Other People's Children

Blending Together Family, Life & Work: A Plentiful Harvest

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

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