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Alumni Q&A | Terri Broussard Williams, NPL ’20

Headshot of Terri Broussard Williams wearing a Penn sweatshirt.

Authored by: Carson Easterly



An award-winning lobbyist, nonprofit executive, and public speaker, SP2 alumna and Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board member Terri Broussard Williams, NPL ’20, is head of state and local government relations at financial services firm Edward Jones. Over the course of her two-decade career as a government relations executive for a large international nonprofit and a Fortune 500 corporation, Terri has focused on her dream of creating significant, community-shifting outcomes and her commitment to creating meaningful, groundbreaking, and systemic change. Terri is the founder of the Movement Maker platform and serves as the inaugural instructor for the Social Justice Graduate Certificate Program at The Bush School and Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy at Texas A&M. She was named one of Austin Business Journal’s Most Influential Women in Central Texas.

Why did you choose Penn and SP2?

I chose the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) because they offered a program that aligned perfectly with my goals as a social impact strategist and lobbyist. SP2’s focus on understanding how to do good in the world while addressing systemic issues resonated with me deeply. Additionally, SP2’s Center for Social Impact Strategy offers the  Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy, which I completed before my master’s degree. It provided me with a strong network of changemakers who continue to support and promote each other’s work. This community focus, combined with the quality of education and opportunities for real-world impact, made Penn and SP2’s Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership Program the perfect choice for me.

When did you first know that you wanted to be involved in social justice work? Why?

I first knew I wanted to be involved in social justice work because of my belief system and upbringing. I remember being a young child and assisting my mother at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Reading Academy, where she tutored students on Saturdays. In middle school, I volunteered at my public library and fundraised for nonprofits in my community. By the time I got to college, I knew no other way. I genuinely believe that we each have a responsibility to make the best better. As a professional, I am incredibly blessed to work at a firm that allows me to embed this belief structure in my everyday work. My firm’s purpose is to partner for positive impact, working together to better our communities and society. This purpose speaks to my soul and guides everything I do in my career.

What did you like the most about your experience at SP2? What would you consider the key takeaways?

I enjoyed every single class I took at SP2, which might seem unbelievable. The professors, experts in their field, were down-to-earth, caring, and made our time fun. My classmates were also amazing; we formed a tight-knit group that supported each other through the program. What I loved most was being able to apply what I learned in real-time. For example, in Nonprofit Ethics and Law, I could immediately use the information to solve an issue for a board I was serving on. My professors were always willing to workshop potential solutions with me. These moments reaffirmed my belief in the value of education and my choice of Penn as my alma mater.

What led you to your current position as the head of state and local government relations at Edward Jones?

I started my professional career as a television news journalist before transitioning to lobbying, where I’ve been for more than two decades. In 2019, I made the jump from nonprofit lobbying to corporate lobbying, which I enjoy because I can use the same principles from my nonprofit work but scale it for a corporate setting. In 2023, I joined Edward Jones, a 102-year-old privately held financial services firm, as their first state and local lobbyist. Each day, I get to build a public policy portfolio in a manner that was never done before. In one of my first presentations as a new hire at Edward Jones, I learned about our social impact via a collaborative cohort, and I was proud to see that it was in perfect alignment with the many lessons I acquired at SP2. It reaffirmed that I was in the right place.

What professional accomplishments have been most meaningful to you, and why?

Two professional accomplishments that will always be close to my heart are: 1. In 2005, I was part of an all-female under-30 lobby team that passed the LA Smoke-Free Air Act, making all restaurants smoke-free. We executed an issue-based advocacy campaign that included grassroots lobbying, direct lobbying, media advocacy, and fundraising. 2. In 2020, I created Amazon’s first-ever social justice public policy portfolio at a time when most companies were not advancing social justice initiatives. It wasn’t easy work, but I had the time of my life while working at Amazon. I look back at these experiences, and, while my professional roles were so different, the throughline of my life is the same. I strive to create change but to also empower others to create the change they hope to see in their communities.

What are you looking forward to in your career, and how do you think your SP2 experience has or will impact your professional path?

In 2020, I wrote a book called, “Find Your Fire: Stories, Strategies and Tools for the Changemaker in You.” In my career, I’m looking forward to continuing to write and bring my next book to life soon. As I write, I recall the many lessons I acquired at SP2, which gave me the agency to know that I’m writing from a place of research, principles, and a desire to advance social change for good. SP2 is known for being a driving force for positive impact, with an enduring pledge to advance the pursuit of social innovation, justice, and policy; eliminate oppression; and foster a better future for all. I carry that spirit with me each day, and I’m excited to see how it will continue to impact my professional path.