Kelly Williams, a Talent Acquisition supervisor, is celebrated for his empathetic leadership, especially during challenging times. Awarded Asante's highest honor, the Annual VIA, he's known for uplifting his team through personal tragedies and fostering a supportive, fun work environment. His commitment to Asante's values makes him a revered figure.
Asante’s employee recruiting ads carry the slogan, “Everything you are means everything to us.” It’s a brand promise, a slogan, an aspiration. For Kelly Williams, the energetic and irrepressible supervisor of Talent Acquisition, it’s also a deeply held value, along with Asante’s core Values of excellence, respect, honesty, service and teamwork.
The fact that he lives that promise every day is one reason he was awarded the Annual VIA, Asante’s highest honor. When the department was roiled by the pandemic, workforce changes and tragic personal losses, Williams was there to listen, comfort and advocate for his team and Asante as a whole.
“He was the glue that held us together on the toughest of days,” said Sugar Mejia. “Kelly brings out the best in people, and hasquietly taught us to find the best in each other. After departing from interactions with Kelly, I found myself saying, ‘Please let me be the person Kelly Williams thinks I am.’”
He forged strong bonds with his team in part because he honors each person’s unique personality and empathizes with their circumstances.
“Our small team, made up under 25 individuals, underwent a horrific tragedy in August of 2022,” said Tami Garcia. “Two staff members lost their beloved sons within four days of one another. While on the surface, you may not see this as a great impact to a team, it absolutely was. When a parent loses a child, everyone around them, including those who work closely with them, experience that loss as well.
“While many people ended up shying away from this, Kelly did not. He approached the losses with compassion and support. I personally can vouch for this as I was one of his employees who unexpectedly lost their son. Kelly was quick to gather resources and support, but in a way that was nonintrusive. When I came back to work, he was nothing but love and support and made that a priority for me. I know myself and my other colleague who lost her son, felt so lucky to have him as our leader during the worst times of our lives.”
That sentiment is echoed by Mejia. “I will be forever grateful to Kelly for his unwavering presence through the cancer journey and loss of my 24-year-old son. I was not the only one in our small department who suffered tremendous loss and heartache. And yet we also welcomed new babies, celebrated marriages, enjoyed happy and wonderful life events. Kelly supported, cheered, celebrated, grieved, held and loved us all — and continues to do so.”
Williams joined Asante in 2008 working for organizational development, the same department as his partner and past Annual VIA honoree Kristi Frederick. He left in 2014 to pursue other opportunities and returned in 2020 to help lead the Talent Acquisition team.
New hires may be greeted by music, or sometimes a serenade, when they enter his office. To rev up enthusiasm he’s been known to blast Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”
“He makes Talent Acquisition an exciting place to work,” said Katie Jackson. “He fosters collaboration, open conversation and a sense of fun in our daily grind.”
He befriended Amanda Kotler while she was an RN in ARRMC’s heart center. “He really believed in what I could become,” she said. “He told me over and over until I believed it too.” Now chief nursing executive, Kotler became the leader Williams thought she was.
In gratitude for his contributions to Asante’s Values, Williams was given a special Annual VIA badge backer, a $150 gift card and personalized crystal award.