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57 // The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders

GET TO KNOW Michael W illiams Arrived at Elon in 1998 Hometown: Middlesboro, KY Favorite leaders: Williams’ mother, Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama

PHOTO BY ASHLEY BARNAS

Michael Williams


The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders // 58

PHOTO BY ASHLEY BARNAS

THE MAN OF MOSELEY A nudging battle goes on between a prospective student and a parent as to who will ask a burning question at the welcome desk. Someone tries to sneak a pocket pooch past the campus shop. Students apply for van driver certification – thank goodness they are not on his insurance. When it comes to all things Moseley, Michael Williams witnesses it all. From van certification trainer to dog catcher, Williams does all his jobs with a smile. As Director of Campus Center Operations and Conferences, he coordinates the day-to-day operations of Moseley. “He’s great at what he does,” said Robin Riggins, who works directly across from Williams as Coordinator of the Welcome Center. “He will bend every way possible to make something work out for you. When it can’t work out, it bothers him.” Scheduling rooms for meetings and events and approving posters and publicity for around campus are only the beginning of Williams’ daily tasks. He helps set up registration tables, orders linens and teaches how to get the best use out of a space. He also keeps up with the physical aspects of the building to make it safe and clean. Williams gives a lot of credit to his assistants, who help with booking summer camps and conferences, programming the digital signs, reserving airport shuttles during breaks and other various tasks carried out through Moseley. “One person can’t really do it all,” Williams said. “There’s lots of support, not just me.” He is “sharing the wealth.” Williams works directly with ARAMARK, Physical Plant, Environmental Services and media tech support. The man of many hats also makes at least one round through Moseley a day to peep into every office and say “Hi.” “If you see Michael, nobody goes by without speaking,” Riggins said. “Mostly because he’ll holler at you first….He has his own way of making you know you’re his friend.” While the duties are not part of his job description, Williams also advises Alpha Phi Alpha and the Gospel Choir. He also serves on the sustainability,

diversity and safety committees. There is no such thing as a typical day for Williams, who gets random phone calls from people asking what time it is, how to spell something or requesting a wake-up call. “You try to stay professional,” he said, “but you want to just say, ‘What in the world?’” He sometimes has to answer where Wake Forest and Duke are located. “I tell them, ‘You can’t get there from here. This is where you need to be.’” Twenty students work with Williams during the school year, and he always wants to stay on campus after work hours to support them in what they do. But he finds it challenging to balance work with the rest of his life. Another challenge to his job is getting everything done in a day. Williams said he is a hands-on leader, because he likes to provide “opportunities for other folks to have opportunities.” “As a good leader, you’ve got to be able to listen and be a good follower, too,” Williams said. Good leaders should have solid listening skills, be knowledgeable, understand the goals they’re trying to achieve and be passionate about their work, he added. “With any job, you need to be firm but flexible, and you’ve got to know timing is most important,” Williams said. And gaining trust is crucial. “If people know you have their best interest at heart, they’re more apt to be on board,” he said. Williams credits a former boss at a small school with shaping his thoughts on leadership and customer service. “I just try to make it as pleasant as possible for people,” Williams said, because he likes to and because it’s the Elon way. “Every day you have a choice to live your life,” Williams said. “You can live it to the most or you can complain.”

Story By Ashley Barnas


MichaelWilliams