Nobody would look at James Williams’ childhood and call it charmed. As a matter of fact, you’d be hard-pressed to predict any kind of a future for kids born into the abject poverty of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1960s.
Little James’ early life was no better than most, and often worse. Living in the neglected inner city, he was raised with his three younger siblings by a single mother, the victim of domestic violence. James witnessed that violence at the tender age of six. Instead of following in those footsteps, however, he took a different path: One of humility, hard work, and humor.
His chosen path worked. There were bumps along the way, without a doubt. But James’ mother had instilled in him a confidence and a vision. He had goals, and they did not include repeating the hardships and cruelty that he had experienced.
With every step backward, James grew smarter about how to proceed. He learned that he had to ask questions, protect his own interests, and make wise decisions whether life was treating him fairly or not. He learned not to compare himself negatively to more fortunate peers. Most of all, he took steps to achieve his goals: An educated life, a happy family, and financial independence.
He did well in high school. So well, in fact, that he was awarded scholarship money for college. But in his third year, the funds ran out and he was forced to suspend his education. After a year of working part time jobs, he signed on to an eight-year contract with the U.S. Army Reserve so that he’d have the money to complete his college coursework. Keeping his eye on the prize served him well; he got his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems 14 years after high school.
Today, James Joseph Williams also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration, and he expects to complete his Ph.D. in Public Management and Leadership in 2018. He has stayed on with the military for 28 years, well past his original commitment, moving up the ladder to Chief Warrant Officer 5 status. He credits the service not only for his education, but for the ability to travel the world extensively and to be trained for his career as a cyber security professional.
Williams is the author of the multiple award-winning Chasing the Eagle: From Dreaming to Achieving Success & Freedom, and a contributor to Dr. George C. Fraser’s compilation of inspirational life stories, Mission Unstoppable. In 2010 he started his own self-publishing firm, Rising Eagle Publishing, after learning firsthand how difficult it could be for a novice author to have a manuscript published using conventional avenues. His company’s tagline is “Putting Your Mind on Paper,” and its mission is to help other aspiring world-changers to share their knowledge and experiences.
Best of all, according to Williams, he is proud to be a happily married father raising his son to be a well-educated Christian man who serves others – and himself – with kindness and generosity.