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Austen Williams

Austen Williams has been working in community engagement with nonprofits and community-based organizations for over 20 years. In 2014, her commitment to service led her to compete and earn the title of Mrs. America, becoming the first black woman to win the coveted title. Austen traveled across the US and abroad, speaking on her platform, Shake the Shackles: Human Trafficking Awareness, engaging communities on ways to end modern-day slavery, working with countless anti-human trafficking organizations, and raising over $600K for these organizations. As a result of her work in the area, Austen became a recipient of the prestigious Phoenix Award, the highest honor given by the City of Atlanta, and was named Humanitarian of the Year 2014 by Viva Internationale Magazine.

Since her time as a titleholder, Austen has continued expanding her reach and impact to include community engagement in public health, including work in health disparities, breast cancer awareness, maternal health, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Additionally, she is an ordained minister and Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (QAIDI). Austen’s experience in the nonprofit sector includes serving on the Boards of Project Nightlight, an abuse prevention organization, The Jubilee Market, an anti-human trafficking organization, and The Culture Catalyst, a community engagement training organization. She also served as the Director of the Girl’s Youth Ministry at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and the Women’s Ministry Director, Communications Director, and Creative Director at Grace City Church in Charleston, SC.

In her current season, Austen is the Executive Director of The Medi Inc., a health equity organization. When she is not serving at The Medi, she is a Business and Communications Consultant with Crowning Glory Coaching and Consulting, specializing in communication, branding and marketing, business strategy, and executing special projects. Her clients include nonprofits operating in public health, education, and church planting sectors. She is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Culture Catalyst, a community engagement consulting firm that partners with businesses to build best practices to serve the communities where they operate.

Austen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is working on her Master of Public Administration degree at the University of West Georgia.