Dr. Darlene Williams
Women in Need (WIN)
Dr. Darlene Williams is an executive and community leader, agent of change, author, professor, and unwavering advocate for issues related to social injustice, inequity, disparities and the community. She currently serves as the founding Chief Program Officer at Women in Need (Win) overseeing Win’s extensive programmatic portfolio of transitional homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities across New York City as well as their associated programs and mental health services.
In this role, Dr. Williams leads the programmatic roadmap to ensure effectiveness of program and service delivery to clients that guides Win’s mission of transforming the lives of NYC homeless women and children by providing a holistic solution of safe housing and critical services that will enhance independence. This includes mental health support, financial literacy, income building services, childcare, recreation, summer camp, and afterschool programs for all Win clients. In her previous positions as an executive in New York City government, Dr. Williams served as the Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and was responsible for direct development, implementation, and management of VetsThriveNYC, the veteran-specific component to the First Lady of NYC’s groundbreaking ThriveNYC mental health program. She also held progressively responsible executive positions at the NYC Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) where she focused on improvements in health status for NYC's most impoverished neighborhoods by leading teams that targeted programs and resources in high-need neighborhoods to ensure quality care, the reduction of health disparities as well as addressing the fundamental factors that impact spiritual, emotional, environmental, and economic wellness. Prior to her roles in NYC government, Dr. Williams served in various positions in the private sector related to the improvement of livability, wellness, and health for individuals in the homeless population, substance abuse, domestic violence, and therapeutic foster care. Her career path displays key positions in agencies that serve some of the City's highest need populations. In addition to her full-time work, in 2014 Dr. Williams published her first faith-based book, FPS: Freedom Positioning System, which served as a spiritual roadmap to mental health wellness. Since, 2012 she also serves as an Associate Adjunct Professor at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus in the School of Health Professions instructing students in a Diversity & Health Disparities course she developed, which explores the impact of factors such as racism, discrimination, diversity, culture, socio-economic status, gender, geography, and access to healthcare on the disparities in health status, life expectancy, and healthcare in the United States. Dr. Williams is active in her community. She is a proud member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, serves on the Board of Directors and is a member of Black Agency Executives (BAE) and has participated on numerous community panels and initiatives for organizations such as Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive (NOBLE), and the National Association of Black Military Women. She serves on board of the Community Coalition on Mental Health, The First Lady of New York City’s ThriveNYC Mental Health Advisory Board, and in various other initiatives through her community and faith-based houses of worship. She has several mentees whom she advises on career development, goals and educational endeavors. Dr. Williams is a product of the NYC Public School system in Queens and thereafter earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy & Administration with honors from Walden University, her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of NY, and her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Audrey Cohen College. She is the proud recipient of the NYC Council Women’s History Month Heroine Award, Queens Borough Public Library Phenomenal Women Award, NYC Distinguished Service Award, Queens Borough President Citation of Honor, and recipient of the NYC Mayor’s Scholarship and she is a Northeast Regional Public Health Leadership Scholar.