Fadia Williams

Current Job: 
Director of McWilliams and Company Educational Services; President United Nations of South Africa

English Literature, Media Writing, Art History
Post Graduate Certificate in Education

Previous job:
Principal of Leap Science & Maths School Linbro Park, Jhb; Assistant Producer TV Broadcaster Independent Film Company

How did you obtain your current position?
I started my own educational consultancy after a few years as a History and English Teacher, then a Head of Department for English, an acting Principal role, a School Leader position and a Head of Department for an International School in Cape Town. I felt I wanted to start an agency that worked for more than one school. I created my own current position! As with my role as President of UNASA, it was a four year long courtship. The then President, Professor Harold Herman, groomed me to take over from him.

In what way does your qualification relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?
My qualifications relate to my work directly as well as indirectly. A student of the Humanities will always be interested in the social aspects of society. I entered the Media Industry as a researcher fresh out of the pilot Film & Media group of 2002-2005, as my course I had originally selected [Cultural and Literary Studies] was no longer being offered. As a researcher and then producer of Lifestyle, Education and Religious content I decided to focus on Education and transforming the landscape I was exposed to through my work as a broadcast researcher as well as a fourth generation Educator. Completing my PGCE saw me involved with a special cohort led by Dr Sieborger and thereby designing the not yet 'new' curriculum called CAP's in 2010.

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?
Resilience, curiosity, determination, perseverance, ambition, humanitarianism

What are your day-to-day activities?
Scheduling meetings, designing school interventions for school leaders, inspiring teacher training and development, co-ordinating and facilitating workshops, meeting Funders, collaborating with my team. Studying, reading, staying ahead of the game. Spending quality time with my family, cooking supper every night and very little sleep.

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?
I was quite "anti institute" person when it came to 'being involved' at UCT. However as an athlete and an avid public speaker, I joined the UCT Hockey team and presented the news for UCT Radio. I was also a young mother with a baby born in March of my second year so my duties were at home at the time. That being said, I was fully committed to my studies and took up a third major in my second year!

To what extent did you make use of the Careers Service while you were at university?
To be honest, the Career Services I see Humanities studies getting now is an amazing resource that I didn't use to its full extent when I was a student. I remember meeting a curriculum advisor in my first year as I decided on a General BA because my original studies was no longer being offered.

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?
Get involved! I would attend extra or guest lectures, seek out the Professor and Associate Professors from other countries to see what programmes are offered internationally too. I was lucky enough to have taken a GAP year before I started studying, but I would definitely do a semester abroad if I had to re do my undergraduate degree.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?
I would say choose something you enjoy. I loved English Literature, and still do, but I didn't ever think I was going to be an English Literature Lecturer or Professor. I still have my books from my Lit lectures, I love them so much. If your able to, take on interesting electives and seminars to expand your horizons.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?
Pace yourself and be patient. Fortitude is your best friend