MIKKI WILLIAMS UNLTD a speaking, training and consulting firm.
COACHING, ETC… presentation skills, executive and life coaching enterprise.
Chair of peer advisory boards and a top tier speaker resource for VISTAGE INTERNATIONAL, the world’s leading executive org.
SPEAKER SCHOOLS, held three times a year in Chicago.
MIKKI AND FRIENDS, a monthly tele-conversations series.
A blog named MIKKI WILLIAMS’ BLAH BLAH BLOG.
A subscription based membership, THE MIKKI MOUTH CLUB.
A product line, EXCESS-ORIES.
OUTRAGEOUS ORATORS…speakers who rock, an uncommon speakers bureau.
a police officer knocked on her door
one evening, and handed over her husband’s wallet and wedding ring. Gabe
was killed in a tragic car accident while
driving home from his job at IBM, leaving
Williams to rear their young son alone.
She was only 29.
Immediate financial pressures heightened the impact of her husband’s sudden
death. She had no job and no income, but
lots of bills. When the going got tough,
Williams got going—realizing she would
need to call upon her natural talents
to start earning an income quickly. She
took a mental inventory of her strengths,
talents, hobbies and interests.
Williams has always been passion-
ate about dancing and cooking. In fact,
she had attended Ithaca College in New
York on a drama scholarship, but switched
her major to physical education because
it involved more dance. Her obvious
career choice was to become a pro-
fessional dancer in New York,
which segued into choreogra-
phy, and led to her opening a
dance studio named,
ately, “A Dance
then a dance
Among her most famous pupils were
“Wicked” choreographer Wayne Cilento
(one of the original cast members of “A
Chorus Line”), actress Joanne Woodward,
author Erica Jong and heiress Patty Heart.
For a time, Williams also danced on
cruise ships, and booked talent—dancers,
entertainers and speakers—for cruise lines
through her business, cleverly titled “
Concurrent with her dance enterprise,
she launched a home catering business—The Happy Cooker—with Martha
Stewart, who happened to be one of her
dance students. They focused on gourmet
catering and party planning, building successful businesses in Westport, Conn. As
Williams says in her inimitable way, “She
just went a little further than I did.”
After selling her last business in 1987, she
took a year off to travel, reflect, and figure
out her next career strategy. True to form,
she grabbed a sheet of paper and drew two
columns; on the left, she listed her talents,
interests and hobbies (cooking, dancing
and fitness). On the right, she listed her
objectives (travel, glamour, people, no
financial glass ceiling).
While analyzing her lists, she experi-
enced an a-ha moment: She would open
a world-class destination spa on the East
Coast, similar to the ones that were
enjoying success on the West
Coast. She went back to college to get
a master’s degree in hotel management
and did some PR for hotels in the meantime. Instead, she ended up dropping
the master’s program in hotel management, and instead took a crash course in
meeting planning at the American Society
of Association Executives (ASAE).
She soon discovered that meeting planners worked behind the scenes sorting
through details and logistics, and she knew
inherently she did not possess a behind-the-scenes persona. But when she learned
that meeting planners also book speakers,
her curiosity was piqued. Heck, she didn’t
even know that speaking was a profession.
That would be her new career direction.
“Speaking was very challenging in the
beginning because my credibility was in
fitness, the industry I was trying to leave,”
Williams says. “My keynote speech at
Ernst & Young for Inc. magazine’s entrepreneurial banquet launched my career. I
was instructed to dress in my usual sequins
and bring my Play-Doh, which I used as
a prop, when I addressed an audience of
500 CEOs from Fortune 500 companies.”
TELL AND SHOW
Williams’ multitude of businesses have
served her well, supplying her with a
wealth of information and experiences
to draw from for her unique storytelling,
whether the topic is sales and marketing,
teamwork, communication skills, customer
service, creativity, change management,