Williams brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and passion for the Eastern Shore to the Chamber role. "I am born and bred Eastern Shore," said Williams, "I grew up on the water. I spent all my summer days on the beach and most of my high school days on a sailboat."
Williams has a very special connection to the Eastern Shore Chamber that dates back to her childhood, when her father Charlie Gay was the Chamber's manager for many years. "I used to run around the Fairhope office as a child," said Williams.
She recalls judging the Christmas Parade when she was 7 years old and posing with her father for a picture in the Courier as they unveiled a new billboard for the Arts and Crafts Trail. She said she admires the work her father did to help create an environment on the Eastern Shore that invited tourists to venture off the highways and come visit.
|Charlie Gay shaking hands during the 1974 Arts and Crafts Trail
Williams graduated from Fairhope High School, before heading to Auburn to major in fashion design, merchandising and textile chemistry. She had planned to be a fashion buyer, but her career took a turn to banking soon after graduation. She began her banking career as a customer service representative in Lagrange, Georgia.
Williams obtained her Georgia real estate license, moved to the mortgage division, then eventually transitioned to sales and services manager where she handled advertising, marketing, public relations, business development and training.
She said this role spoke to a higher calling of helping people reach a brighter financial future. "I learned that management was a strong suit for me. I truly enjoy helping people grow and giving them opportunities to develop new skill sets," said Williams.
Williams moved back home in 1998 to work for First Gulf Bank. She moved to United Bank six years ago as the Executive Vice President and Retail Director, working with 17 different offices.
Her background in banking will play a major role in how she leads the Chamber. "It's all about getting the most for the money we are entrusted with. We'll need to look at what is critical to do business and what money can be put back into the community."
Although Williams has held many prestigious roles throughout her career, she said, "My most precious role is that of grandmother to Charlie, who is 18 months old."
Williams lives in her childhood home in Daphne with her new husband Lee Williams of Fairhope. Her daughter Hannah and his children Hadley,Taylor, Net, Parker and son-in-law Caleb are all now part of the loving family she jokingly refers to as a modern day Brady Bunch.
Most weekends you can find Williams riding on a boat, relaxing on the beach or cheering on the Auburn Tigers football team. She is a pet-lover and advocate for the environment. She also enjoys cooking and entertaining.
Williams values her faith and plays an active roles as a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
||Casey Williams poses with the 2004 Jubilee Festival poster artist
Williams has dedicated countless hours to service. She volunteered for several years on the Chamber's Jubilee Festival Committee, serving as the festival chairman in 2004. "This was such an enjoyable opportunity for me to give back to the area I love and showcase our art community," said Williams.
Other volunteer roles include serving as a past chairman and board member of the Daphne Redevelopment Authority, the Vice President of the Baldwin County Humane Society, a member of the Fair Ballot Commission of Alabama, and member of the Auburn University MBA Advisory Board.
"It's been engrained in me to be part of the fabric of service to your community. Growing up, my dad was very involved; learning about people's businesses and what they're doing. I admired that," said Williams, "I look forward to the Chamber really making a difference in the lives of our merchants, our cities and quality of life."
Williams said her first priority is to get out and hear from as many members as possible. "We want the Chamber to be a true resource and value to our members," said Williams.
She is confident that the future looks bright for the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and the business community.
"I want to be accessible and visible," said Williams, "I will be listening and seeking to understand what it is that we can do, and I will work to form collaborative partnerships to ensure we are all walking together and understand where we are going."