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What’s Marcus’ Why? Faith

IC100 Award Winner Builds a Legacy of Faith, Growth, & Inclusion in the D.C. Metro Area

By ICIC | June 20, 2024

It had been a long but energizing day at the 2023 ICIC Annual Conference. Marcus Williams was in his element among hundreds of small business owners from across the nation. Between the informative sessions led by business professors and industry leaders and networking with fellow entrepreneurs, he felt full. But there was one order of business left to attend to. This was the one thing he’d been looking forward to more than anything else at the event. Attendees joyfully strolled into the grand hotel ballroom, which had been transformed into a space fit for a celebration in anticipation of the closing session where the rankings of the Inner City 100 award winners would be revealed.

Williams, feeling anxious and excited, took his seat. In the preliminary remarks, Steve Grossman, CEO of ICIC, shared that 2023 marked the 25th annual celebration of the Inner City 100 Awards, also known as the IC100 Awards. These awards recognize the 100 fastest-growing small businesses in under-resourced communities. Then the countdown began. Williams sat, barely breathing, waiting to hear his company’s name announced. One by one, the winners were listed, starting from 100 all the way down to 90, then 80, 70, 60, 50. Williams could not believe his eyes or his ears. His company was ranked higher than he expected. The countdown continued, down to 40, then 30, and then it hit him. He’d made it into the top 20. Starting to feel faint, he suddenly heard his company, MW Consulting, ranking number 19! Immediately, he was overcome with pride. The journey to this award was not short or easy. For Williams, that moment of recognition acknowledged so much more than the incredible 417.6% growth his company had experienced in the last 4 years. It acknowledged him, his efforts, his growth, and his progress, especially because none of this success was expected from someone like him.

“When I want to give up, I don’t. I figure out a pivot or how to position myself to move forward because giving up is not an option.”

An Unlikely Success

Williams is a native of Washington, D.C. who grew up in a troubled, underserved neighborhood. Despite the statistics and news suggesting that a black boy from his community, raised in a toxic family environment, would not succeed, Williams defied the odds and surpassed expectations. His list of accomplishments is impressive by any standard. Williams holds a Master’s degree in Corporate Communications from Georgetown University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from The Pennsylvania State University, and professional certifications in Strategic Communications Management from Ithaca College, Digital Excellence from Dartmouth College, and Leadership and Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His expansive career includes leadership roles in various sectors and has earned him the title of communications expert. Notable positions include serving as the founding Director of the Office of Communications for both the D.C. Department of Health and D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, working for the White House under the Obama Administration, holding a Senior Communication Strategist role at Booz Allen Hamilton, and a position with the U.S. House of Representatives, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

This list of achievements would not have been possible without a consistent motivating force in Williams’ life. He states, “Faith is my why. I am given life every day to serve a purpose. That means taking a leap of faith. When something is put on my heart to try to explore, I do it because it would be disrespectful, in my opinion, to my higher power if I didn’t. When I want to give up, I don’t. I figure out a pivot or how to position myself to move forward because giving up is not an option. You’re given life to live it.”

Having conquered the communications field in media, corporate, and government arenas, Williams began to feel the need for a change. He felt that his creativity was being stifled in his government role, and he realized that he could not continue in that position for much longer. With faith that his next step would reveal itself, he resigned from his job without a clear plan for the future. After much prayer and consideration, he founded MW Consulting in 2016. Today, the firm assists clients in utilizing communications to engage with their stakeholders and customers by creating narratives, designing visuals, organizing events, and identifying technological solutions for improved internal and external communications. More than half of MW Consulting’s clients are government agencies, collectively managing more than 30 programs that serve approximately 1,000,000 residents in Washington, D.C.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Empowerment

“It’s a constant reminder to have an inclusive lens on everything that I do.”

As a member of multiple marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, Williams approaches entrepreneurship from a unique perspective. He shares, “It’s a constant reminder to have an inclusive lens on everything that I do.” Growing up as a black man in a disadvantaged neighborhood, Williams understands the need for additional resources in these communities. In both his personal life and business, he is dedicated to providing opportunities to young people who are facing similar challenges as he did as a child. His company focuses on helping girls in under-resourced communities prepare for college, and he frequently participates as a judge in pitch competitions for Georgetown University’s School of Business. In addition, he is actively involved in several boards and most recently was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Quality Chamber Foundation as chair of the micro-grant program.

Yet, beyond all the success and community involvement, what is most important to him is the impact of his life on his family and friends. He expressed, “What I am most proud of is being an example and an inspiration to my friends and my family members, knowing that people want their children to be around me, and people want my advice. That, to me, is what matters the most about your impact on your community.”

About the IC100 Awards

Since 1999, ICIC has identified and honored the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in under-resourced communities through the prestigious Inner City 100 (IC100) awards. Throughout this period, ICIC has had the privilege of learning about and highlighting more than 1,000 remarkable business leaders and companies from across the United States. These firms have proven to be catalysts for job growth and promoters of a thriving, inclusive economy, even amidst challenging circumstances. Furthermore, they have actively contributed to the enhancement of their communities by generously donating their time and resources to local organizations and charitable causes.

Learn more about the IC100 Awards and eligibility criteria for this year’s list at Don’t miss the chance to apply or nominate an entrepreneur for this prestigious recognition and join a community of changemakers!


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