Meet Board Member Jerri Williams: former FBI agent
When Jerri Williams retired from the FBI after 26 years of service, she did what no one quite expected. She wrote a successful novel called Pay to Play.
The story is based on an actual case that focused on the Philadelphia strip club industry. Who knew?!
Jerri’s creativity and entrepreneurship makes her a natural for Fresh Artists’ Board.
Jerri and Barbara Allen met in 2007 when they were both were members of Leadership Philadelphia, a local leadership program that enhances civic knowledge and awareness. They immediately hit it off. Jerri invited Barbara to be a member of the newly formed FBI Citizens’ Academy, designed to build awareness for the FBI’s work with community leaders. Members learn behind-the-scenes skills such as how to gather evidence, target shoot real weapons (really?!) and role play stakeouts and ambushes down at the FBI’s Quantico headquarters. As Barbara’s 4th grade career goal was to be a spy –being part of this organization was the realization of a lifetime.
Barbara, in turn, enticed Jerri into volunteering for the then-fledgling Fresh Artists.
“I remember meeting all the young artists at 440 (N. Broad Street, School District of Philadelphia headquarters),” Jerri says, “giving out name badges and corralling the kids at their Sprout Fest – an annual celebration that the School District used to co-sponsor with Fresh Artists to acknowledge the children who donate their artwork to help other kids.
As an active novelist and podcaster, Jerri appreciates adults and organizations like Fresh Artists who nurture children’s creativity.
“Writing is not a visual art, but it is part of the art community,” she says. “I’ve always loved books and reading. Making sure that kids are able to tap into their creative side is very important, I think. And it certainly helps to have the resources to do so.”
In addition to her time with the FBI, Jerri also worked at SEPTA for 7 years as director of media relations. As a board member, she hopes to contribute her expertise in making connections with the local media.