10-10-2016 · Young Professional Leaders

l-williamsLonnell Dawson Williams
Vice President, Private Client Associate
U.S. Trust; Private Bank for Bank of America

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved in United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group?
In 2015 I moved to Atlanta with my family, and I really wanted to find a way to plug in and give back. My Market Executive, UWGA Board Member Wendy Stewart, provided me with a ticket to the YPL Night for a Brighter Tomorrow gala. I knew upon entering that YPL was the place to be. The fellowship, the service, and the passion for the city could be felt through the room. I decided then that this was the place I wanted to be.

YPL: What’s your biggest concern within the community?
Atlanta has become one of America’s fastest growing cities and isn’t a stranger to Fortune 500 companies, the technology boom and overall prosperity. My greatest concern within the community at large, however, is that there are more and more people living close to or below the poverty line here. This wide gap can be seen as you drive along Northside Drive from Bankhead to Buckhead. The reality is children are still living on the street, the quality of life for some is deplorable, and many are still fighting just to have a decent meal. I realize that there is still so much work to be done.

YPL: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment thus far? Why are you passionate about your professional work?
Lonnell: Working for U.S. Trust/Bank of America has been very rewarding personally and professionally. Prior to my role, I served as an Director of Ministries and Staff of a megachurch, and there I could see tangibly how my daily actions would produce life change in people. Now serving as an advisor to the city’s wealthiest families and foundations, I can still see the same impact but with a broader reach. Helping business owners and executives manage their investable assets and ensuring that we preserve and protect them financially for many generations is a reward in and of itself.

YPL: What is something about you that might surprise people?
Lonnell: I love to scuba dive and I am avid Premier League fan! Go Manchester United!!!

YPL: Why do you choose to give to United Way?
Lonnell: I really do believe in the United Way and its approach to “mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world” by empowering all to give back. I believe in the social, emotional, and communal impact that we have here in the Atlanta area, and I am proud to say that I play a small role in creating a brighter tomorrow.

YPL: What would you tell someone who is considering joining YPL?
Lonnell: It will be one of the greatest decisions you’ve ever made. The individuals who are a part of the YPL today will be Atlanta’s future decision makers. Come be a part of a better tomorrow.

YPL: What is your favorite YPL event or experience and why?
Lonnell: The best event would be the Gala, Night for a Brighter Tomorrow. I enjoyed just connecting with like-minded people for a great cause. The best experience would be visiting a local nonprofit that the United Way supports financially. This organization literally helps hundreds of kids with shelter, life-skills training, and job placement. Seeing your dollars in action was rewarding and encouraging.

YPL: What are your hobbies/interests?
Lonnell: I love to read, play PlayStation, shop, go to the movies, and spend time with my wife and four beautiful children.

YPL: Who in the world (past or living) do you most admire and why?
Lonnell: There are three men who I admire the most, and they are all very important to me. My grandfather, Lonnie Dawson, my pastor, Dharius Daniels, and my father, Craig Williams. These three men in different stages in my life shaped me into the father, husband, and leader that I am today. They exemplified beauty even in the midst of ashes, trials, and troubles.
I am because they were.

YPL: What is your favorite quote?
Lonnell: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”- Reinhold Niebuhr


Special thanks to our Marketing Committee Chair, Jennifer Grove, for conducting this interview.