SOURCE: Goodwill Industries International

May 09, 2007 07:00 ET

Wisconsin Woman Repeatedly Overcomes Personal Adversity to Prove Resilience Is Key to Success

Victoria Williams Named Goodwill's 2007 Achiever of the Year

ROCKVILLE, MD -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 9, 2007 -- Despite a lifetime of personal tragedy, Victoria Williams repeatedly overcame adversity to successfully find and keep good jobs. As a result of her determination to keep working and help others, Williams is being recognized as Goodwill Industries International's 2007 Achiever of the Year.

Victoria was a young girl when her mother passed away. At 16, her father died. Soon afterwards, she was abducted and sexually assaulted. After escaping, she immediately found herself in another physically and psychologically abusive situation -- locked in an apartment, beaten for months. When Williams was finally free, she was mentally and emotionally scarred and spent years in and out of psychiatric institutions. With amazing resilience, she reclaimed her life, raised three sons, and thrived, working for 25 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Menasha, WI.

"Clearly Victoria understands the power of work and the fundamental way in which that power can improve people's lives," says George W. Kessinger, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "When people are gainfully employed, their self-esteem increases, which in turn boosts their chances for success elsewhere in their lives and in the lives of those around them."

Then tragically, in 1999 and 2000, Williams suffered two strokes that physically prevented her from working. Williams recalls the frustration of that time, but despite the struggle, she knew herself and her own determination too well. "My life could only be meaningful if I was working," says Williams. She began looking for a new job.

Victoria's life would again take a turn, this time for the better, proving resilience and perseverance are keys to success. She was referred to Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin's Vocational Evaluation program. "This evaluation focused on what I could do," says Williams. "Goodwill saw no disabilities, no boundaries."

Working her way through training programs, Williams herself became a Vocational Trainer. She has since advanced to Program Coordinator and most recently was promoted to Assistant Store Team Leader. "One of the most important things in life is being able to help someone else," says Williams.

Goodwill Industries International's Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming obstacles to employment, but who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, ABC
    Director, Media Relations
    Goodwill Industries International
    Tel. (240) 333-5264
    E-mail newsroom@goodwill.org