Social Driver has tapped Kevin Williams as Senior Advisor, Strategic Growth. Williams will play a pivotal role in the company's efforts to expand client partnerships with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Social Driver was recently named the #1 minority-owned creative agency in the U.S.
Williams brings more than 35 years of leadership experience with corporate brands, nonprofits, and government agencies. He specializes in building high-performing solutions for clients, such as strategic alliances, channel strategies and customer engagement.
As an advocate for economic empowerment, Williams launched the Pitch Mania program to introduce minority entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 contracting opportunities. He recently helped organize a meeting between minority entrepreneurs, including Social Driver CEO Thomas Sanchez, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Butitegeg.
Williams serves in leadership roles with the National Minority Emerging & Innovative Technologies Consortium, the Executive Committee for the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council, the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee and the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
He is the Chairman of the Board for Project Mend-A-House in Virginia, serving the needs of veterans and senior citizens, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Black Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He and his wife are also foster parents.
Learn more about Kevin below.
Q&A with Kevin Williams, Senior Advisor, Strategic Growth
Q: Kevin, your career has spanned multiple industries, from the military to facility services, real estate, IT security, and video conferencing services. What have you learned about diversity, equity and inclusion along the way?
Kevin: I actually started my career as a combat medic. Since then, I’ve held multiple contracts in the federal space and the commercial space over 30 years. It's no secret that there are huge disparities in how contracting and procurement takes place, in the United States and around the world.
Diversity is important because people are important. As minority business owners, we have jobs to do, we have employees to pay, we have families to feed. We are taking our rightful place in the communities where we live, work and play. We are contributing to the economy, which is largely driven by small and minority-owned businesses.
Diverse-owned companies provide high-quality products and services, representing multiple billions of dollars. As we lift each other up, and view each other as collaborators, not competitors, we can accomplish much more than by waiting for others to acknowledge us.
Q: Why are leading corporations interested in connecting with diverse businesses?
Kevin: Diversity isn't just nice—it's necessary. Diverse viewpoints drive innovation and new ways of doing business. Clients find that diverse teams, like we have at Social Driver, help them drive the growth and audience engagement they desire.
Socially and economically, there are great reasons why decision-makers should care about diversity. But diversity isn’t just good for society–it's good for business. Smaller companies are agile and nimble. We have direct access to our supply chains, and we're faster to the markets. We can pivot and deliver in ways that a larger company might struggle with.
Q: Why should organizations have diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of their marketing?
Kevin: Diverse companies look like the country and the world around us, so we can market to the masses and tell the story of the collective whole.
A few years ago, Procter and Gamble released a commercial about “the talk” that Black families have with their children about how to interact with police officers. Procter and Gamble recognized that racial bias affects a lot of their customers, so they created a marketing campaign around “the talk.”
The company took a lot of heat, but their margins went through the roof. Black and brown people appreciated that they took a moment to help tell our story. Some people, those who look like the majority of Americans, thought they were pandering to us for dollars. But it wasn't pandering—it was a story that needed to be told.
Q: How does your role contribute to Social Driver’s overall mission?
Kevin: I view myself as a complement to the great work that Social Driver has already done, and as an enhancer of the mission. Being a truly diverse team makes it easier for us to have conversations with partners, clients and prospects of other ethnicities. Sharing my knowledge, experience and connections is a win for Social Driver, for our clients, for the cause of diversity—and for me, personally.