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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2023

Profiles in Professionalism: PS3 Kimberly Williams

By Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Tyra M. Watson

I recently asked newly-frocked Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Kimberly Williams why she chose to join the Navy Reserve. Her response was both swift and definitive.
“My daughter,” she answered, without pause.
Williams, who graduated from Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois, last November at the age of 38, explained what motivates her to embrace her new role as a pay and personnel specialist at Commander, Naval Reserve Forces Command.
“My decision to join the Navy Reserve was solely based on creating a better future for my daughter,” she said. “I decided I wanted more for her, and that is what led me here.”
As we spoke, I noticed Williams didn’t seem like your average junior Sailor. She maintained a centered, dignified aura and had a self-assurance about her one might expect to see in the chief’s mess or wardroom.  I listened as she recounted the struggles that drove her during her childhood in Columbus, Georgia.
“From 18 years of age, I have been my own provider and caretaker,” said Williams. “I’ve learned to push through the hard times and I continue to work toward being my greatest self.”
Williams’ road to the Navy Reserve was a winding one. Initially, she pursued her dreams of becoming an actress and began college as a theater major, but ultimately switched to social work after a gentle nudge from her father to consider pursuing a more practical degree. She eventually earned her bachelor’s degree from Clark Atlanta University, volunteered at an afterschool program for at-risk youth and performed her practicum at ‘The Samaritan House’, an employment readiness program for the homeless. There, her passion for service was born.
“When I graduated, there was a hiring hold on social workers,” said Williams, “but I knew I loved working with people and I wanted what I did to matter.”
Williams remained to live and work in Georgia for 16 more years after graduating from college. Prior to joining the Navy, she worked at group homes and colleges, served as an aging and disability resource counselor and eventually became a special investigator for Child Protective Services.
Williams’ discovery of the Navy Reserve as an avenue to move obstacles out of the way for her child presented her with an opportunity she would seize with both hands. Now, she devotes each day to keeping Reserve Sailors ready to fight and win by managing their pay, entitlements and allotments, and overseeing other administrative processes. It’s a mission she approaches each day with commitment, professionalism, drive and focus.
“Even though I’m just getting started in the Navy, I have grown by proving to myself that even at my age, pushing my body to its full potential is possible and mentally I am stronger than ever before,” said Williams. “I’ve also learned that if you want something, go for it. If you don’t like the benefits of your current situation, change it.”
A wide inviting smile drew itself along her face as the conversation turned to her parents, and her eyes began gleaming with a genial spotlight cast by her glasses. She began to tell me how her parents built her life on a foundation of confidence, power, energy and strength. 
Williams’ father served for 20 years in the United States Army. Her mother, a financial specialist, holds a master’s business administration degree. Williams recounted the sacrifices and life lessons which came from her parents.
 “My parents come from extremely humble beginnings and their lives were not ideal, but they made it out of the “dirt,”’ said Williams.  “I’m grateful for the opportunities they provided me with, and wherever they are is home.”
Williams now finds herself over 700 miles away from her Georgia home, carrying out the mission of the Chief of Navy Reserve’s warfighting lines of effort. Sailors like PS3 Williams develop the force, making sure policies, processes and administrative systems are transparent and seamless, making it easier for service members and their families.
As we closed our conversation, her powerful feminine energy and strength made itself evident as she stood up to leave. She stood up straight and looked me in the eye. Her locks were pulled back into a perfectly neat ponytail, accompanied by her clear umber skin. To me, she was a picture of strength, poise and confidence. She offered one final thought.
“I am honored to be able to continue working to serve people,” Williams said, flashing a humble smile from ear to ear. “The Navy Reserve is my path to taking care of my family, and my family means everything to me. It inspires me to give everything I’ve got every day and to truly take advantage of this opportunity that I have been given.”