I had the pleasure of interviewing someone I hold near and dear to my heart, Gary Williams. Some would say I have a unique bias, and I would like to call it more of an expert opinion. Gary is a Syracuse native who has an outstanding and applaudable background in public administration, policy, healthcare, business, and entrepreneurship. He is the epitome of what many of us aspire to raise our sons to be, who we want our daughter to marry. Gary is not the stereotypical black man the media likes to portray; he is a husband, a father, and a standout in his community. He's someone who uplifts, gives back, and inspires. He is a part of a new movement of people who hold a 9-5 while simultaneously growing his brand. He is considered a corporatepreneur. Yes, that is a newly made-up word, but it applies to this outstanding brother.
Gary holds two master's degrees, one in Public Administration/Government Management from Long Island University and another in Healthcare Administration from Cornell University. Gary's background in healthcare administration earned him the opportunity to speak about what he has seen in the healthcare industry. In 2019, he completed a TED Talk seminar called "Beyond the Numbers," where he discusses the statistics and their correlation to adequate healthcare access. The numbers don't accurately depict the barriers the low-income sector faces in access to healthcare. In his current role, he can better understand these numbers and how it relates to the community. His current position is the Director of Operations at Syracuse Community Health Center. Syracuse Community Health Center primarily serves low-income patients with limited access to healthcare. He is responsible for quality improvement, care management, care coordination, refugee health programs, COVID testings/vaccinations, and patient access specialist. Gary recently joined a program through the U.S. Department of Defense project called DIA: Defense Innovation Accelerator. The program lists 23 existing technologies available for each participant to work on/commercialize one of those technologies and transfer its use in a different sector. Gary's team is working on the commercialization of a form of ultrasound technology. His team has several goals, one of which uses ultrasound technology to measure existing infrastructure on a broader scope to assess the damage; for example, the Department of Transportation can reconfigure or reconstruct such infrastructure based on the ultrasound findings. This program aims to use existing technologies to advance the current infrastructure while modernizing and enhancing new sound infrastructure plans to benefit communities of color, rural areas, and areas left with rotting infrastructure.
Gary is considered a local trailblazer who has run for Onondaga County Legislator and Cicero Town Council, both of which he lost. However, he has not lost his drive for success and considers himself to be hypervigilant. "I am the person I am today because of where I started," he says as he recollects on past struggles. "I was in a bad place. Getting kicked out of my house and couch surfing helped me realize that I needed to do more with my life." Gary struggled like many of us but didn't let his struggles define him. Instead, he has used his efforts to motivate him and give back to others. Gary partnered with Eb Tutora for a required project to finish his master's degree at Cornell, intending to build a healthcare ecosystem within Onondaga county, focusing primarily on the impact trauma has on mental health-related to African American women. Gary was able to obtain much insight from Eb Tutora; through their efforts, a healing trauma seminar was created and shared with the community. He understands the pressures his mother faced as a single mom and how often black women's insecurities and concerns go unheard. Working with Eb Tutora helped him reach that particular audience.
Gary is the father of a beautiful young lady and understands the importance of healing and the effect that trauma can have if left untreated. Fatherhood helped change the trajectory of his life, and he attributes much of his success to where he started and used personal experiences with his father to dictate the type of parent he wanted to become. Albert Einstein once said, "Adversity introduces a man to himself." A man finds out what hunger is when he is left To starve. Adversity is often a roadblock for many, but Gary viewed it as a stepping stone to success. Along that road, he has stumbled but never refused to get up. The most important lesson on his journey was helping people up along the way.
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