Alumna recognized for leadership
Megan Williams ’04 has built the résumé of a leader. Since her graduation from the College as a sociology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major, Williams has been working locally as the executive director of Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW), where she began as the first staff member hired by the Waterville-based group. Even so, her inclusion in MaineBiz’s 2009 “Next List,” which recognizes leaders in Maine’s economy, came as somewhat of a surprise.
“I never thought of myself as a leader, which is kind of a funny thing because now I am leading an organization...I also never thought of myself as impacting Maine’s economy,” Williams said. She added that the acknowledgement by MaineBiz “helped me rethink my role at Hardy Girls, not just leading the organization but also investing in the next generation of Maine leaders.”
Williams was involved in community service throughout high school as well as during her four years on the Hill.
“When I got to Colby and had the opportunity to learn more about the systems that shape our communities, as people and as a culture, I got really involved in doing work with women and girls,” she said.
In fact, it was during her college years that Williams first became involved with HGHW as an intern. “When I first got the opportunity to begin volunteering with Hardy Girls during my junior year, I found a great intersection between understanding the systems that were in place and doing something about them...I think that intersection really embodies what Hardy Girls does,” Williams said.
HGHW aims to provide programs and services that empower young girls, teenagers and women. According to the HGHW website, their vision “is that all girls and women experience equality, independence and safety in their everyday lives.”
Williams’ role in the organization has evolved during her time as executive director. In the beginning, according to Williams, her job entailed “almost everything from answering telephones to developing and delivering programs to raising money to working with our board of directors and volunteers.”
As the organization grew, new staff members were added. HGHW currently employs a staff of five, including two other Colby alumnae.
Thanks to the added help, Williams has been able to focus her energy on the expansion of the organization. “My role has changed a lot and is now focused more on the management of the organization, keeping an eye on the big picture and thinking strategically about how Hardy Girls can grow,” Williams said.
In addition to her work with HGHW, Williams, who is originally from Falmouth, ME, is involved with KV Connect, a networking group designed to attract young professionals to the Waterville area. She cites “brain drain,” or the migration of business people from Maine, as being an important issue to her. Therefore, her inclusion as one of the youngest members of MaineBiz’s Next List has significance in more ways than one.
According to Williams, since the list was announced she has discovered “a very strong network of young business owners and leaders and politically engaged people.” She described her recognition as “an example of how young people can have an impact on the state.”
For Williams, the award also has personal significance: “It means a lot to be recognized as a young person in Maine.”