I initially wrote this letter as a farewell to my students at Hampton University, but as I enter the next (exciting, yet terrifying) chapter of my life, I thought sharing what I wrote with the world might avoid the avalanche of questions that are sure to come my way. So many people have supported me over the years, and I hope you will continue to send good thoughts, prayers, and wishes. I appreciate you all!
It is with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation from Hampton University and as the Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.
While I am excited for the opportunities that lay ahead, that enthusiasm is met with an equal amount of sorrow. Serving as director for the past 18 months has been the most challenging, rewarding, and energizing experience of my life, thus far. Each of you has challenged me to develop as a person, friend, and—most importantly—leader. For that growth, I am grateful. The journey has not always been easy, but every bump in the road was well worth the struggle.
I am filled with fond memories of my time here at Our Home by the Sea, and am leaving only to follow the leadership lessons I so often teach:
The best way to achieve a goal is to share the goal with someone willing and able to hold you accountable.
It is with this principle in mind that I share my goal with you. I am leaving Hampton to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in television hosting. As much as I enjoy teaching (my undergraduate degree is also in education), I feel called to explore new opportunities at this exciting time in my life. Although I have put myself in a vulnerable position by sharing candidly with you, it is my intent that through sharing I will be able to persevere during my most challenging times. It is my desire to make each of you proud.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
August will mark 10 years spent at Hampton University. Over the past decade, HU has become a place of comfort, support, and reliability; HU has become home. However, through my past experiences I have learned that the most growth comes during times when I feel the most uneasy: moving to Virginia to attend a university where I knew no one, tripping on stage as I competed in my first pageant for the title of Miss Hampton University, accepting the intimidating job of Deputy Director of the Leadership Institute, and now. . . taking a leap of faith to move across the country. However, as Thomas Jefferson once famously stated, “with great risk comes great reward.” I am going to get my prize.
Life is about choices, and success in life is about choices. Success in life is a combination of the decisions you make and the actions you take that are either congruent with your goals or they’re not.
For the past year, I have been telling friends and family, alike, that I wanted to pursue television hosting. However, when met with the inevitable fate of moving across country, I found countless reasons to stay put. However, I know that in order to achieve a goal, I must think and feel and act from my goals and my intentions. If I set a goal to have a successful television career, my decisions must reflect that desire.
The William R. Harvey Leadership Institute was built on the foundation of service, character, and commitment, and will continue to promote that legacy. As I prepare my departure, please know that as Hamptonians we are forever bonded and as leadership fellows we are forever family. While I will no longer be present physically, I am forever accessible to you as a friend, mentor, and resource.
Desiree Williams, PT, DPT
Director, William R. Harvey Leadership Institute
So with that being said, I'm moving across country with only three suitcases! If you would like to help me make this exciting, scary, and expensive transition, I'd love if you could 'chip in' or 'add to a gift card' in my IKEA registry (click here to view)!