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This weekend, AT&T Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Ambassador David C. Williams was featured on Conversations: Call for Change.

Speaking to host Candace Sweat, the NBC 5 reporter who focuses on the city of Dallas and Dallas County, Williams, a South Dallas native, talked about what he is doing to open up opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

And of course, they talked about what it meant to win the Rodney Adkins Legacy Award at the 2021 BEYA STEM Conference.

The Rodney C. Adkins Legacy Award for Business Transformation carries on the legacy of Rod Adkins, the 2007 Black Engineer of the Year. Adkins held several senior vice president roles at IBM, where he was responsible for leading the transformation across IBM and developing strategies for a new era of computing, new markets, and new clients. Here’s what Williams said about his award:

“Earlier this year, I was recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Rodney Adkins Legacy Award at the Black Engineer of the Year Award STEM Global Competitiveness Conference,” Williams said. “It’s a wonderful honor. Rodney Adkins reached out. My CEO of AT&T Business reached out. A number of mentors. It was amazing.”

“It’s like a corporate Oscar,” Williams continued. “The engineering deans of HBCUs are on the selection panel. Lockheed Martin and US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. (Nominations are) submitted from around the country and around the world. Thanks to this particular solution and other patents that I’ve written driving hundreds of millions of dollars, I was able to win this award. I’m very grateful,” Williams told Conversations for Change.

During the pandemic, Williams figured out a way for AT&T sales staff to process payments while working from home without compromising customer data. For this accomplishment and others, Williams has gained notoriety across the board.

In an interview with Tammy Reese for Motivation at Vocal, Williams described his BEYA experience as amazing.

“Rodney Adkins and I talked on the phone. Anne Chow, the CEO of the Business congratulated me. My VP, Trish (Trish Renz, vice president, business customer sales and service, AT&T National Business) has been my champion. There was a ton of buzz on social media. A couple of posts have a thousand likes and my acceptance speech has a few hundred thousand views. It was quite humbling when I shared the news with my mom,” he said.

Williams’s work as a tech director responsible for AT&T’s SPI (Sensitive Personal Data) solution was also showcased by storyteller Kirby Carroll Wright on Medium.

“In every job, the point is to solve a problem,” he said. When I think about how the pandemic affected me professionally, it brought about challenges and put a lot of companies in stressful situations. For us, the telecommunications industry is so heavily regulated, there is information that people can’t have exposure to when at home and that presented a lot of issues. But I work with a small great group and we came up with ideas that allowed people to work from home and do their job successfully and frictionally and the company earned the money it needed to and served the people it needed to.”

Williams, who serves as a division lead and DE&I ambassador at AT&T, talked some more about his Rodney Adkins Legacy Award with Kahlil for EBONY. Click here to read about Secure Link, Williams’s groundbreaking technology that enabled 40,000 employees to work from home during the pandemic.

Watch an excerpt from the award ceremony at the 2021 BEYA STEM Conference on YouTube.

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