Nancy Williams is a Technology Industry Executive with years of progressive experience in business development and large-scale account management with organizations such as IBM, Unisys and Comforce. Skilled in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Project Management Office (PMO), Recruiting, Technical Recruiting, and Change Management. She is also a strong educated professional with a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) focused in BBA, CIS from Georgia State University.
With a passion for entrepreneurship, Nancy leveraged her previous IT experience to partner with Roz Alford in 1995 as a Principal with ASAP Solutions Group, LLC. Under Nancy’s leadership, ASAP experienced significant growth, expansion and diversification. She was very instrumental in launching branch offices in New Jersey/New York, Chicago, Dallas and Hyderabad, India and enabling ASAP to provide comprehensive Talent Management Solutions across 46 states and beyond.
As the current CEO, Nancy provides active hands-on leadership and direction to the company’s four business units of Staffing, Consulting, Workforce Compliance and Managed Services. Nancy and her team work hard to ensure ASAP’s continued and sustained growth by developing and implementing business strategies that are customer-centric and addressing our clients’ most common and complex contingent workforce challenges.
Nancy has recently been named in the Staffing Industry Analysts 2018 Global Power 150 – Women in Staffing, a list of the 150 most influential women in North America, Europe and around the globe. Nancy was also named to the Staffing Industry Analysts 2018 Americas 100 list.
Nancy has also been recently become a member of the prominent International Women’s Forum. The International Women’s Forum builds better global leadership across careers, continents and cultures by connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement.
Nancy has been inducted into the prestigious group of Women of Distinction. This honorable group is comprised of WBE’s (Women Business Enterprises) that have given countless hours, held distinguished positions within the organization and support to the WBENC organization. She is known as a thought leader and advisor within WBENC and the 14 Regional Partnership Organizations.
In addition to her leadership at ASAP, Nancy reaches out to the community through various avenues of professional and non-profit organizations. She has been a Board Member with the C5 Youth Foundation of Georgia as well as an Executive Committee Officer for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP). Nancy played a pivotal role in the establishment of a jobs program for youth supporting Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV). She actively participates in the promotion and growth of women-owned businesses. She is a founding member of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a founding member of WeConnect (Certification of Women Business Across Many Countries Worldwide) and champions the cause of several organizations including: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Technology Associations of Georgia (TAG), TechBridge and the Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC). Nancy graduated from Georgia State University with a BBA in Computer Systems.
WeFresh is exclusively distributed in the U.S. for a product sold worldwide as Micro-Fresh®. The technology was originally developed and crafted in 2006 in the UK to prevent the growth of mold on products in transit from the far corners of the world. It also has additional properties that prevent odor causing and pathogenic bacteria.
Today, the brand is used as an ‘added value’ by over 50 retailers and manufacturers. It now serves as the ‘go to’ brand for innovation-conscious retailers that want to promote the freshness of their products.
In addition to preventing the growth of odor causing microorganisms, WeFresh products can be washed at low temperatures, decreasing the need for frequent washing which prolongs the life of the product, as well as reduces energy costs and carbon footprint. WeFresh maintains freshness over 99 percent beyond 50 washes, essentially, providing a lifetime of freshness for WeFresh products.
Manufacturers, retailers and consumers can be confident in WeFresh because it is free from restricted substances and SVHCs, OEKO-TEX Standard 100 approved in all 4 classes I-IV, and Certified DMF free. The result is a Nano-free technology that is tough on harmful bacteria but kind to the human skin. WeFresh has been tested and approved for safety in baby bedding and has been featured in children’s footwear for nine years.
Not surprisingly, the technology behind WeFresh has been honored with a number of awards including the Cisco Systems National Innovation Award 2010, Ernst & Young Sustainable Business Growth Finalist 2014, Cummins Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, Goldman Sachs Business Growth Award 2015 and more.
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:19] Lee Kantor here. Another episode of GWBC’s Open for Business. And this is going to be a fun one. We have with us today Nancy Williams. And she’s with ASAP Solutions Group and WeFresh. Welcome, Nancy.
Nancy Williams: [00:00:32] Good morning, Lee. How are you? First of all, are you surviving?
Lee Kantor: [00:00:38] I am surviving. I am hanging in there. I’m excited to talk to you about your work. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of things going. But before we get too far into things, tell us a little bit about both of your ventures – ASAP Solutions Group and WeFresh.
Nancy Williams: [00:00:54] Oh, absolutely. ASAP Solutions Group has been in business since 1989. We are a total talent management company specializing throughout the US with technology and professional services. And then, we also have a company in India too in which we support US-based clients in India, as well as a fairly large recruiting delivery team too over there. And WeFresh is a antimicrobial – that is what everybody talked about today – that prohibits the growth of bacteria, mold, E. coli, MRSA, salmonella while promoting freshness.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:39] Now, did you find out about WeFresh through your work with ASAP solutions? Like how’d they get on your radar?
Nancy Williams: [00:01:47] Oh, yes. I always say, clients become your friends, become your supporters, then everything. And one of the two foundation clients that we had when I started my partnership back in 1998 with ASAP was Andersen Consulting and Accenture. And Accenture actually is the one that introduced me to the founder chemist of the product. And he was out of the UK actually participating in their supplier development program. So, through their encouragement, they were like, “He wants to come to North America. You all have a great brand. You’re collaborative. We think you guys should talk.” So, they kind of match-make us. So, that’s how we connected. And we have all that distribution right for North America. And we actually just signed the deal with Kathy Ireland Worldwide. And she is our global brand ambassador, as well as one of the members to our board of advisors. And I’m very excited to have a relationship and partnership with with Kathy and her team. They’re spectacular.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:00] And that’s a good lesson for our listeners about the importance of relationships and really getting to know your partners, so that there might be kind of tangential ways you can work together and help each other that may not be kind of on the menu items of things that you do or don’t do, right?
Nancy Williams: [00:03:19] Correct, absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:21] So, now, how are you and your teams in your various ventures handling this kind of new world order that we have regarding the pandemic and a lot of remote work and things like that?
Nancy Williams: [00:03:33] Well, I have to give kudos to my leadership team. I believe that in business, you surround yourself with incredibly smart people. And I always look at it as, what’s your weakness? Go find your strength and someone else. And they put together the plan truly before even the virus hit about what would happen if something caused us to have to shut down. How would we go into a remote world? And was our technology system in alignment? And oh, my gosh. We have India, which is a different world within itself in telecommunications and so forth. And would they be situated?
Nancy Williams: [00:04:21] So, they integrated and implemented the plan first in the US, and then in India on a Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. We had literally three hours to get everybody situated, all equipment, everything that they need to have, so that when we went live on Monday, they were 100% engaged, effective, that they had everything that they needed to be successful, that they were safe, their families were safe. And I can’t say enough about it. So, we actually forecast it. And every business should do this. What happens in a situation like this?
Nancy Williams: [00:05:11] This is so unprecedented because we never lived through this. And everybody is going through those challenges. I think we’ve all adapted. But I also think, again, you’ve got to be able to pivot, pivot to the new world. I don’t think we will be going back to what it used to be. I have the same saying like that it’s not a matter of when it’s going to change or if it’s going to change, I should say. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. And the when is now. And I mean, if you look at what’s going on within the retail industry, e-commerce is going, I mean, crazy that our brick and mortar stores aren’t because they’re shut down. Also, some of those did not have the right distribution systems. So, even their e-commerce just shut down. So, it’s going to be an interesting world as we continue on to this next phase.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:19] Now, when you’re working with your team regarding … maybe your team has already been doing this remote work, so it’s not new to you, but maybe some of your clients haven’t kind of managed remote workers before. Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to keep the team motivated and going? I know a lot of people are doing kind of morning kind of huddles over Zoom, or some something like that, or maybe they’re communicating more frequently than they had been in the past. Are you doing some things with your team to keep them fired up, as fired up as you are?
Nancy Williams: [00:06:54] Yeah. Yeah, we are. We do a a morning meeting every morning across both worlds where we all get together, we talk about current demand, what’s going on with our clients, what are we seeing and so forth. And I tell you, I think with the clients, it’s been so different than 2008. This 2008, especially in my world, in the technology world, everything shut down. We haven’t really seen it shut down. We’ve seen demand slow down. But I mean, people have done incredibly well with the remote work. I also come from that you must inspect what you expect. And this is where we get to accountable results, measurable, accountable results. And that’s how we we really drive that business is, can we measure it? Because if you can’t measure it, it’s really not going to be actionable. So, you’ve got to really be in tune to let everyone know what the expectations are, how you’re going to measure them, how you’re going to expect it, and are you there to coach and mentor in care at the end of the day, right?
Lee Kantor: [00:08:22] Right. Now, regarding the measuring, I’m sure when people started 2020, they had some projections, and some numbers, and revenue target, and things like that that they were looking to hit. And then, maybe they were on their way or weren’t on their way, but wherever they were, when this thing started, it’s a new world. So, those numbers are kind of out the window. And in some cases, dramatically. And in some cases, like you said, maybe not so dramatically. Maybe in some cases, it’s better. But how do you help them kind of look at those numbers in a different way or maybe reset expectations?
Nancy Williams: [00:09:03] Well, when we’re looking at numbers and so forth, I have a philosophy that you always have to be planting seeds for a new client and so forth. And those seeds, some might die, not bloom into a flower. Then, some might become the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen, but it takes time and it takes persistence. And I call it having a pleasant persistence around engaging with your clients. So, when we’re looking at members, we don’t believe in giving expectations, revenue expectations to our team that are not achievable. That would be literally setting them up for failure. So, it’s surprisingly enough, most of all are pretty well on their way to achieving the results that is needed.
Nancy Williams: [00:10:08] So, it’s, again, investing in relationships. People, at the end of the day, are still going to deal with people that they trust. And how do you get into that inner circle of trust with your clients and so forth? And that is one thing when we go and we do all these studies from a market research, and we say to our clients, “What do you think of them?” And almost always, they say, “Trusted partner.” So, that’s what we’re saying. I think we’ll go back some. I know some of my competitors have come back significantly. And that’s mainly not because they don’t do a great job. It’s just unfortunately, the industries that they were heavy in got hit the most, like airlines, right? And we know it’s-
Lee Kantor: [00:11:03] Right, travel, sure.
Nancy Williams: [00:11:03] Right, travel, hospitality. We were little in that, but not a ton. So, blessing as it is, we didn’t really see the hit like some of the others have.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:22] Now, you’re active with the GWBC. How has that organization and organizations like that helped you through this crisis in terms of maybe giving you information that you didn’t have, or maybe made you aware of some things you weren’t aware of, as well as just the support of kind of like-minded people all kind of in there together, and maybe even some business opportunities?
Nancy Williams: [00:11:49] Yeah. I’ve had the pleasure of being on the board of directors for a number of years both for GWBC, and then prior to WBENC, as well as part of the leadership committee and so forth as one of the Chair Emeritus to the National Forum. The information that’s coming out to all small businesses, medium-sized businesses, diverse businesses, it’s a lot. I mean, I probably get – I don’t know – 20 miles a day about the PPP, and what you need to know, what you need to do. And with WBENC, I’m part of the Women at Distinction. And that’s a group of ladies – it’s about 18 of us – that have really invested a great deal in building the organization to what it is now. So, we’re on WhatsApp. And it ranges from several million to a couple billion in revenue dollars and stuff. And we’re all there to support each other. And we wouldn’t have that support if we all hadn’t been engaged with WBENC and our local RPOs, and gotten to know each other, and thought leadership around it.
Nancy Williams: [00:13:18] So, it’s like I tell WBEs and NBEs too is if you want to build your brand, get engaged. I’m a big football person. And I believe business is like football four quarters. And you have your team, and you have your fans. Well, you can stay on the sideline and just watch the game being played, or you could be in the game and be part of the team that drives it. WBENC and GWBC, they give a lot of information to the WBEs. Very, very incredible, insightful information. And I’ll give you a perfect example in why you need to be engaged because I got a message for the Leadership Forum, the Women’s Leadership Forum. And Toyota came across the bank, and it went out to all of us that were part of the forum that said they have money if anybody needs to apply. Call this person. Toyota, you would never heard that in the paper. So, it’s a community. It’s a community that supports. You have to still earn the business, but it supports you and how do you earn that business. And that’s what that organization is all about.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:48] And I think you said it at the beginning that it’s all about relationships and the way that you make relationships work are you show up, you do the work, you’re trustworthy. You’re watching other people’s back. It’s not all about you. It’s how you can serve. And if you demonstrate those behaviors over time, then you’re going to bear the fruits of those relationships over time. And it’s not an instant solution. It isn’t like, “I join in, and then I win.” It’s, “I join, and I show up, and I do the work, and then maybe I win.”
Nancy Williams: [00:15:20] I mean, I have a client I was just on a Zoom meeting with. And I participated. We were the first in their supplier development program. And I’ve known them trying to position a solution to them – I am not joking for six years. Six years has taken me to get to where I am now with them. And that’s the hardest thing is I keep going back. You gotta plant those seeds. You gotta water the seeds and the plant. So, you’ve got to nurture and give them the right fertilizer, so they continue to grow. And then, eventually, if you do everything right, they’re going to be beautiful flowers for you. But if you don’t take those steps, it’s not going to happen. And you might be lucky and land something because it’s all in timing too. Everything is timing in business and luck. I’d rather be lucky than good. I want to be both, but I need luck that helps us propel and so forth. So, you’ve got to be pleasantly persistent.
Nancy Williams: [00:16:44] And here’s the thing with now is everybody, I think , we all went through this shock. I mean, I had a client, “I can’t do anything. I can’t talk. I can’t…” I’m like, “Okay, calm down. Number one, are you okay? How’s your family? How are you? How are you holding up?” And this is a time where you’re going to either build wonderful relationships or just casual relationships. And I always say invest in those that you really enjoy being around, you believe in that client’s product and brand, you believe in their core values. And I call them dream clients that you want to continually delight with the experience of life. And when you delight your client, they will delight you back.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:40] Amen to that. Great advice, Nancy. Thank you so much for sharing your story today. If somebody wants to learn more about your work, whether it’s at ASAP Solution Group or WeFresh, what are the websites of both of those please?
Nancy Williams: [00:17:53] Very easy. One is www.myasap.com. And the other is www.mywefresh.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:05] Good stuff. Well, once again, thank you for sharing your story. You’re doing important work, and you’re really making a difference.
Nancy Williams: [00:18:12] Thank you. And hope that all the listeners, please stay safe, please stay healthy, please wash those hands, and be strong. We will get through this.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:24] You’re right. We will. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC Radio.
About Your Host
Roz Lewis is President & CEO – Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a member of the WBENC Board of Directors.
Previous career roles at Delta Air Lines included Flight Attendant, In-Flight Supervisor and Program Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity.
During her career she has received numerous awards and accolades. Most notable: Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion award; 2017 inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and 2010 – Women Out Front Award from Georgia Tech University.
She has written and been featured in articles on GWBC® and supplier diversity for Forbes Magazine SE, Minority Business Enterprise, The Atlanta Tribune, WE- USA, Minorities and Women in Business magazines. Her quotes are published in The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business book by Susan Wilson Solovic and Guide Coaching by Ellen M. Dotts, Monique A. Honaman and Stacy L. Sollenberger. Recently, she appeared on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s BIZ on 11Alive, WXIA to talk about the importance of mentoring for women.
In 2010, Lewis was invited to the White House for Council on Women and Girls Entrepreneur Conference for the announcement of the Small Business Administration (SBA) new Women Owned Small Business Rule approved by Congress. In 2014, she was invited to the White House to participate in sessions on small business priorities and the Affordable Care Act.
Roz Lewis received her BS degree from Florida International University, Miami, FL and has the following training/certifications: Certified Purchasing Managers (CPM); Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management (ISM)of Supplier Diversity and Procurement: Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta (DLAA), Negotiations, Supply Management Strategies and Analytical Purchasing.
Connect with Roz on LinkedIn.
The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®) is at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises (WBEs). An increasing focus on supplier diversity means major corporations are viewing our WBEs as innovative, flexible and competitive solutions. The number of women-owned businesses is rising to reflect an increasingly diverse consumer base of women making a majority of buying decision for herself, her family and her business.
GWBC® has partnered with dozens of major companies who are committed to providing a sustainable foundation through our guiding principles to bring education, training and the standardization of national certification to women businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.