A woman smiling
Karen Patricia Williams

Nursing Distinguished Professor
of Women’s Health
Director, Martha S. Pitzer Center
for Women, Children and Youth
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Three generations of women in her family were Karen Patricia Williams’ earliest “sheroes.” “Each of them taught me something different, with a common
expectation that I would do my best. Anything less than my best was unacceptable,” she recalls.

There are, too, “many African-American women who paved paths for her to have ‘a seat at the table.’” She cites great admiration in particular for Mary McLeod Bethune, a stateswoman, philanthropist, educator, and civil rights activist who founded the National Council for Negro Women. “When so many wonderful women have poured into my life, I believe it is my responsibility to “pay it forward… I am determined, while I am at the table, to bring solutions to address issues that affect our women and community,” says Williams.

Williams is a nursing distinguished professor of women’s health at The Ohio State University College of Nursing; director of the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth; and a member of the Cancer Control Program at the university’s
Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she conducts world-renowned research in cancer prevention and control within cancer disparities.

She works tirelessly to expand the voices of women in the boardroom, convinced that such representation would help to drive corporate decisions that will empower leadership roles at the C-Suite level. Her platform is her own leadership roles in national civic organizations that focus on meeting the needs of women, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, The Links Incorporated, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and the YWCA. “I contribute to various scholarships and endeavors that empower women and girls. These are a few examples of how I pay it forward and give back,” she shares.

Williams has a Ph.D. in community development and a master’s in higher ed. administration from Michigan State U., and a bachelor’s in journalism from Temple University.