“As a leader, you must find ways to revive yourself. Your cup will get empty and your battery will get low. You have to revive, renew, and recharge.” –Dr. Damon Williams
Rev. Damon P. Williams, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. He’s also on the academic faculty, as a part-time professor, in the industrial and systems engineering department at Georgia Tech.
Yes, leading students and a congregation require a special skill set. Damon received a B.S in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech. Then he went to the University of Michigan where he received his M.S and Ph.D. in Industrial & Operations Engineering. Next, he attended Columbia Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity in Theology/Theological Studies.
Staying in school for fourteen consecutive years required a plethora of self-motivation and stick-to-itiveness. Damon listed some of the barriers that many minorities face when they do not know someone who has pursued a higher degree. The only people he knew pursuing a Ph.D. were in his program. This barrier motivated Damon. He’s constantly driven by the ancestors he’s met and those he hasn’t. Damon knows that those ancestors could only dream about many of the opportunities he has taken advantage of. Damon aspires to help the youth professionally and spiritually and he serves as an example for those that aspire to get an advanced degree.
Growing up Damon was able to watch his parents take on executive leadership roles for his home state of Maryland and the federal government. His parent’s example served as an inspiration for Damon. Damon also discussed his JV basketball coach who believed that people do not know the maximum they can give. His coach encouraged the athletes to reach further than they imagined. Anyone who has seen Damon in action as a softball coach knows he has the same philosophy. One of his favorite things to do is quote the movie “300” to help motivate his teammates.
Damon worked in corporate America for one summer which led him to choose the path of academia. As a professor he has the opportunity to work with colleagues that are the best in their field. This level of excellence pushes him to be his best. The path to pastoring was not as clear. Damon felt called to minister in 2005. However, he did not know that would lead to being a pastor. Damon remarked, “When God calls, you go.”
Damon’s leadership skills are ever evolving, at the center is always the example of Jesus. Damon is truly a servant leader who leads by example. Anything he asks of others, he is also willing to do including staying overnight at the youth lock-in.
Not only does Damon set high expectations for himself, but he also wants the best for those around him. He describes his expectations as ridiculous. Damon declared, “I love hard, and then I have extremely high expectations.” He rallies around those around him and encourages people to reach new heights. As a leader Damon casts the vision and then attempts to tap into what motivates each individual.
Damon encourages students to make sure they take school seriously, but also have some fun. Damon was the type of student who wanted to break the curve. He would continue studying even when he knew he would receive an A because a 100 would be even better. He has not counted out going back to school. If he does, he would love to get a degree in Counseling because he uses those skills daily. He feels they should teach counseling and conflict management in seminary.
Damon is one of the busiest people you will encounter. When he does have time to relax, he likes to watch television or a quality romantic comedy. He would also like to go get massages more often. Some of his bucket list items include traveling to more international locations, having a daughter and singing with Boys II Men. Yes, Damon is also a jokester who loves to laugh. His one year-old son Thomas and wife Khalia keep a smile on his face.
Damon encourages future leaders to:
Always… have a vision and plan. Grow thick skin. Find ways to revive yourself.
Never… respond publicly to something that should be kept private. Never behave unethically.
Follow… your passions, if the fire stops burning, it’s time to move on. If you’re a Christian, remember to follow the Bible.
Connect with Damon:
Providence Website: http://pmbcatlanta.com/
Providence Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ProvidenceATL
Providence Instagram: providenceatl