A conversation with Mel Williams--'a leader's leader'.

Author:Nelson, Floyd

It is not enough to say Mel Williams has an extensive background in corrections. No, he is much more than that. Williams is a leader, and when you examine his professional experience, you can see why. Starting with his attainment of a MS in Corrections from California State University, he started as a corrections officer at the Attica Correctional Facility and worked his way up to the position of superintendent. He served the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for 37 years, the last 18 as a superintendent. To many, Williams is best known for his work with the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS), serving as past president and board chairman. Williams' work with NAAWS also includes being the president of Make a Smile, a branch of NAAWS that has restored multiple parks across the United States, or as their mission statement says: "Our mission is to rescue a park or playground in an impacted community to give the neighborhood children a chance to play and smile as their world slowly returns to normal..."


ACA is proud to count Williams as a seasoned 35-year member. During his tenure, he has served as an international security specialist, auditor, trainer, workshop presenter, committee chairperson and writer. Williams is currently a correctional consultant, but will become the executive director for NAAWS later this year. We caught up with the recognized "leader's leader" recently and he had some interesting things to say.

Corrections Today: You have had many roles throughout your career in corrections, but I understand that soon you will be taking on a new position?

Mel Williams: That is correct. At the end of the ACA Congress of Corrections this summer, I will be taking on the position of the new executive director for the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.

CT: Could you describe the organization and role for those who aren't familiar?

Mel Williams: The North American Association of Wardens & Superintendents is the association that represents wardens and correctional administrators from across the United States and Canada. My position as the executive director will be to report to the president of the association and to ensure that the organization is running correctly. I hope to build on the success of our previous directors--Jimmy O'Sulivan, Art Leonardo and Gloria Hultz.

CT: How does this role draw upon the leadership experience you have had in the...

To continue reading