A well-respected community leader, Darnell Williams is President and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization providing services and programs in education, career and personal development and employment for African-Americans and other residents of color. Mr. Williams is well-known to and often assists other culturally diverse organizations beyond African Americans. Prior to joining the Urban League, Mr. Williams was Manager of Management Recruitment and Development at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as well as a Diversity Consultant in private practice.
Mr. Williams was President of the Springfield Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as the President of the NAACP New England Area Conference from 1996 to 2001. He is the former Director for the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Mr. Williams served as trustee of Bunker Hill Community College and Beaver Country Day School. He is a former board member of the Boston Workforce Development Coalition. Mr. Williams is a former member of the Boston Study Group, Chief Executives' Club of Boston, trustee of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Federal Reserve Community Development Advisory Board. Congressman Richard Neal then Mayor of Springfield appointed Mr. Williams to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners. Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Mr. Williams to serve as Vice-Chairman within the Division of Insurance for the Auto Damage Licensing Board.
In February 2008, he was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). Mr. Williams was elected to the Board of Directors of the Co-Operative Central Bank Board of Directors and in January 2009 he was appointed to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Retirement Fund Board of Trustees. In January 2013, he was elected to the position of President of the Association of Executives of the National Urban League (AOE) and also appointed as a trustee to the National Urban League Board of Directors.
A highly respected advocate and requested speaker on issues of importance pertaining to the challenges faced by communities of color and low-income families, Mr. Williams was a contributing member to Boston's successful effort to win the 2004 Democratic National Convention. For his contributions within the Black community and the City of Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino presented him with the 2003 Community Service Award. Mr. Williams received the 2005 Paul Parks Veteran’s Community Service Award. Mayor Thomas Menino appointed him as Chairman of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee (RSMPOC) in 2005. In 2007, Mr. Williams was inducted into the Human Resources Alliance for African Americans (HRAAA) Hall of Fame. In 2011, the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts hosted the National Urban League’s Annual Conference in Boston after a 35 year absence. This event has paved the way for additional conferences of color to come to Boston as their host city.
A Gary, Indiana native, Mr. Williams earned his Master's degree in Education from Boston University after completing his undergraduate degree at American International College in Springfield, MA.
Darnell Williams and his wife Colleen, reside in Roxbury with their daughter, Imani.
"I'd rather be prepared for an opportunity that never comes than have an opportunity come and I am not prepared."
Whitney M. Young, National Urban League President, 1961-1971