“I’ve learned that the only person you can actually count on at the end of the day is you. Your face, your beauty… you can’t even count on that taking you through life…at the end of the day it is what you have in your head that will get you through.”
By Sharmain Grainger
An individual doesn’t always have to be in the forefront in order to shine. In fact, there are many
who have been known to be the key players in various facets of society, but their place is usually behind the scenes.
The professional life of Ali Williams today can easily be placed into such a category. But don’t be fooled by her soft speech and apparent reserved demeanour, she is undeniably a force to be reckoned with, both in her professional and personal life.
She is perhaps among the few young professionals in our society who have been making waves in the business industry but yet continues to keep a low-profile.
At the age of 34, Williams is currently the personality behind marketing and sales at the Sueria Manufacturing Inc., a multimillion-dollar organisation that has been making a tremendous impact in the business industry when it comes to the distribution of beverages and other goodies that the entire family can enjoy.
It has already been a year since Williams has held the dual position of Manager of Sales and Marketing at the Industrial Site-based company and she has been doing so with distinction. She related recently the vast ideas she has to help propel the company – which has already become a household name – to new and outstanding heights.
Williams has the reputation of being nothing less than a dedicated professional, and like many others who yearn for nothing but the best in all of their endeavours, she usually does not bring down the curtains on her daily routines until
the wee hours.
A close look at her achievements over the years will reveal that Williams has the extraordinary ability to promote just about any product and is always classy enough to sell it to anyone. The foregoing is perhaps the aspect of her professional ability that has several companies wanting to have her on their team.
But she has left traces of her professionalism at a number of organisations including: Laparkan, the Ministry of Tourism and Princess Fun City. However, she has happily made Sueria Manufacturing Inc. her second home, and has been doling out some awesome tactics that are expected to keep the company soaring above the rest.
It was perhaps her drive and loyalty to whatever she puts her hands to that has helped to fashion her into the outstanding professional woman she is, and by extension, our ‘Special Person’, a little over a week after the celebration of International Women’s Day, which was observed under the theme #BeBoldForChange.
But her forte at Sueria Manufacturing Inc. does not remotely sum up who Ali Williams is as an individual. She is so much more!
Born on April 14, 1982, Williams recalled being raised by a single-parent mother, Jasmine Williams, who had the unwavering support of her mother, Veronica Alli.
During an interview with this publication, Williams fondly shared how she was given the
unusual first name Ali, which is usually reserved for the male gender or used as a surname.
“My grandfather was Muslim and my mother wanted to name one of her children after him…but she gave birth to two girls before me and she knew that my grandfather wanted at least one of us to carry on his name, so I was fortunate to have his last name as my first name,” Williams recalled.
Another interesting fact about her name is the fact that when she decided to tie the knot at the age of 21, she didn’t even have to change her last name, since her husband’s was also Williams.
But even before reaching this aspect of her life, Williams recalled having a modest upbringing. Her early days were spent in Beterverwagting on the East Coast of Demerara. And according to her, “we (she and her sisters) were just ‘tomboys’…we were always getting in trouble. Our favourite things to do included swimming in the trenches, climbing trees and eating out all of our grandmother’s fruits… and we were often bitten by marabuntas (wasps)…we were real country children… those were the best days of my life.”
Williams, a mother of two gadget-engrossed boys, said that she would often compare her
upbringing with theirs and can’t help but be amazed by the vast difference.
“We were always outdoors doing fun stuff…my mom used to say we were disgusting, but when you consider what we did then and what happens now, I think what we did was very normal; it gave us such exposure,” reflected Williams, who from a young age was wise beyond her age.
Williams’ academic foundation was at F. E. Pollard Primary School. However, it was shortly after completing her primary education that her family relocated to the East Coast Demerara village of Haslington. She, moreover, attended Bygeval Secondary School at Mahaica. Shortly after completing secondary school, she embarked on a work study stint in the Communication Department of the Guyana Sugar Corporation.
Williams recalled feeling so comfortable in the Department that she was confident that a Communication-oriented job was the career path she needed to take. She was retained as a full-time staff member and decided to further her studies in the field of Communications at the University of Guyana (UG). This, of course, was a big deal for the Alli/Williams family.
“My mother was so proud of me…none of my sisters went to UG, and so she was happy to see her youngest actually heading down this road,” Williams recalled.
What was particularly outstanding about Williams is that even at a young age she had already developed the mentality of being very independent. This, of course, meant her working out a financial plan to pay her own university fees. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree which she is also financing independently.
It was perhaps her passion for independence over the years that ensured that she was well prepared for the life she lives today. You see, history has repeated itself in Williams’ life – her marriage of 14 years ended in divorce, leaving her to fend for herself and two sons – 13-year-old Giovanni and 10-year-old Jonathan, by herself.
“All through my life, even when I was married, I saw myself as this one-man show…I always felt that I didn’t need anybody to get where I wanted to go…people may not see it as a good thing but for some reason I saw independence as an important thing,” Williams asserted.
Williams recalled that her decision to delve into the pageantry arena some years ago helped her to recognise early on that this was not the professional path that she wanted to be on. But this didn’t mean that she wasn’t very intrigued by the idea at one point of her life.
It all started while she was in secondary school when she participated and won the Miss Bygeval School Pageant. She developed the attitude of a model on and off the fashion catwalk, and was easily recognised as just this by one of Guyana’s popular fashion personalities, Derek Moore.
“I was just about 16 when he first saw me walking on [UG] campus, and to him I had a ‘model’s flair’…he taught me a great deal about modelling and he really got me involved in this area,” a blushing Williams recalled.
But while her early days of modelling were exciting and brought her much popularity, she would soon realise that the fashion industry which it is closely linked to, is not always kind to ‘models’. “I don’t see a future in Guyana in terms of modelling. I think it has gotten to a point where a young lady feels because she was involved in a fashion show she is a model…there is no training, there is no art and beauty in it anymore, at least this is how I see it from where I stand today. I see girls getting involved in this area not for the love of it but rather for the popularity,” Williams noted.
Added to this, she lamented the fact that there have been far too many reports of “designers or promoters of shows who do not pay these girls the amount agreed upon, if at all. The amount of effort you have to put into it [modelling], it really isn’t worth it these days.”
She, however, is always willing to render her acquired modelling skills when called upon by, Moore, who has become an internationally renowned designer.
Even as she evolves as a focus-driven professional, Williams believes that she is better able to take advantage of lessons life has taught her over the years. She takes each of her long days in stride.
Williams’ weekdays usually start at five in the morning, with her preparing her sons for school as she simultaneously listens to their highlights of the previous day. She then heads to work and doesn’t stop being her professional self until she returns home and transforms back into a loving mother who cooks, cleans and later indulges in her studies after which she prepares to repeat it all over again the next day.
As if her days are not packed enough, Williams currently has plans to introduce a televised cooking show to exhibit one of her favourite pastimes. A keen passion for travelling is also listed among her favourite things to do and being daring at times helps to complete her as a human being.
“I’ve learned that the only person you can actually count on at the end of the day is you. Your face, your beauty… you can’t even count on that taking you through life. At the end of the day it is what you have in your head that will get you through. You have to be happy with who you are and not what others want you to be,” Williams asserted.
She is convinced that an individual’s evolution in every aspect of life should be a two-pronged undertaking, whereby they are able to not only learn but also share.
But even if she wasn’t given the ideal environment to evolve, Williams is convinced that with the Creator and an especially devoted relative by her side, she is destined to become an outstanding person in her own right.
“The help that I have received has guided me to a place where I can see improvements in my professional life, in my personal life…in every aspect of my life. Ali Williams today is a much more calm and focused person,” she proudly related.
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