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Meet Judith Williams

What part of the Dominican Republic do you call home? I was born in the capital, Santo Domingo.

Where did you attend college? Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (Bachelor’s in Economics) and University of Maryland University College (Master’s in Applied Strategic Management)

How did your background prepare you for your career in public health and development?  Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, I was able to see firsthand the social needs of developing countries and how government and NGOs must work together to mobilize resources to have an impact.

What brought you to the US? I moved to the US to pursue a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management after being awarded a scholarship from USAID. Soon after graduating, I started working for the Dominican government to promote the country’s exports to the US. In 2000 I was appointed to the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington D.C. as Deputy Chief of Mission, to improve bilateral relations with the United States. After several years there, I starting working in Human Development at the World Bank in the Latin American region, focusing on health and education projects.

What’s a favorite project you’ve worked on? While at the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, I had the opportunity to work on a project advocating for a Free Trade Agreement between the Dominican Republic and the United States. This was a very complex issue and an opportunity for the Dominican Republic to be included in the negotiations with Central America.

How will you translate your past experience to the vision space? This is the perfect role to bring my past experience in awareness and advocacy to the vision space. My expertise in the private and public sectors will allow me to be part of the broader effort to underscore the importance of good vision as a global issue.

What part of the Vision Impact Institute’s work are you most passionate about? Children’s vision is a passion for me, especially elevating the topic to a global priority. There are so many ways that poor vision, if unaddressed, can impact a child –  from learning, literacy, and academic performance to becoming contributing members of society. I’m also interested in the issue of road safety. There is great work underway in India and other countries. However, several countries in Latin America have similar traffic and safety problems, and there is the potential for further research and awareness in this area.

Is there anyone who has inspired your career? Many people have inspired me and shaped my career. The first is my father, a politician who has served in a number of public positions. He inspired me to always work with integrity and be aware of the importance of civil society in the development of policies. Many other people have influenced and inspired me as well; from professors and colleagues throughout the years to leaders around the world.

What are you reading? Lots of information about vision!

What’s a favorite quote or saying that inspires you?Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” by Catherine of Siena.