Presenter - Business
Leonardo Williams (Rho Beta Chapter – 2006), a recently elected Councilman for the City of Durham, NC is the Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of the PHASE 3 Group, Inc., a strategic focus group that provides helpful accountability strategies effectively on Education, Small Business and Community Development matters (inactive while serving in public office). Mr. Williams possesses a broad portfolio for Education Policy, Mental Health and Business Development across North Carolina, the Southeastern Region of the United States and the Southern region of Africa. Mr. Williams and his wife Zweli Williams are the owners of the award-winning restaurant Zweli’s, the first Zimbabwean restaurant in the United States.
Mr. Williams’ professional experience spans from education to entrepreneurship. As a two-time Teacher Of the Year to successful small business owner, he generated collective action for community development and a robust small business support apparatus. He organized colleagues to build public/private partnerships that ultimately created a three million dollar fund to support small businesses during COVID, preventing closures city-wide.
An advocate for great schools for all children, Mr. Williams served as an Executive Education Policy Consultant for North Carolina Public Schools in which he was tasked to find solutions that supported and improved the state’s bottom performing 5% of elementary schools. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the NC Foundation for Public School Children, North Carolina’s largest nonprofit foundation for public schools. In academia, he served as Chair of the North Carolina Central University College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board; leading the establishment of a successful endowment for student scholarships.
In addition to his domestic endeavors, he and his wife also support the family business and properties of TICOZ Enterprises in Zimbabwe, Africa, one of the largest textile factories in the nation of Zimbabwe. They were touted by President Joe Biden as the “American Story” and were invited as his VIP guests to the final 2020 Presidential Debate. This gesture led to being featured on the front page of BBC World News as a political and cultural contributor, offering perspective on Race and the 2020 US Elections.
Current projects include being co-founder of Bank Black Durham, a mission to increase black home ownership by 10% by 2030 and black small business ownership by 25% by 2025 and Bull City Strong, an effort to build better strategic relationships with corporate partners for the City of Durham, NC.