The Morris County Chamber of Commerce announced that Diane Williams, President and CEO of JBWS, received their Exemplary Leader award for an organization with revenue over $1 million during the 2023 Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
For 25 years, Williams has been a leader in the nonprofit sector in northern New Jersey, working with families impacted by trauma and abuse. She joined JBWS in 2018 and, within six months, spearheaded an inclusive re-branding campaign that officially changed “Jersey Battered Women’s Services” to “JBWS, Safety, Support, and Solutions for Abuse.”
This critical choice highlights the organizations commitment to serving all people who experience any form of abuse. Having the term “battered women” in the organization’s title excludes people of other genders who may be experienced numerous different forms of abuse, including emotional, verbal, or financial abuse.
In 2020, Williams led JBWS through a best practices model and framework to assess JBWS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and define the four phases that would lead to a cultural shift.
The four phases included internally assessing where the agency was, providing DEI training and education to promote individual growth, a thorough review of the organization’s policies and procedures both for staff and clients, and creating organizational change and a shift in leadership.
As a result of the work, the following was accomplished:
- Formation of a diverse, internal Equity Committee made up of staff from every level of the organization.
- Review and modification of credentials in job descriptions to value lived experiences that resulted in several staff of color moving into management positions within the organization.
- Objectives on racial equity were included in JBWS’ 2021 strategic plan. One of the objectives included creating and hiring a vice president level position within the organization that fostered a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment: the Vice President of People and Culture.
In 2022, after recognizing that JBWS staff were empathetically listening to survivor’s traumatic stories on a daily basis, Williams led the launch of the Wellness Initiative Supporting Health (WISH) program. Designed to help address the effects of trauma on clients and staff, a key component of this program was the development of three wellness rooms in our emergency safe house and transitional living program.
“In the short time Diane has been at JBWS, she has not only been a visionary leader from within, but she has been a collaborative leader externally amongst the nonprofit community in Morris County and statewide,” says Helen Le Frois, Vice President of Development for JBWS.