07:04 AM

Powerhouse, Personable Alumna Named President & CEO

“I was going to be an astronaut—I’m not sure what happened to that,” Tracie Williams, MBA ’07, said with a chuckle.

From her Houston office, the friendly, out-going President & CEO of Songwon International Americas revealed how she learned about her newest professional role, how she got where she is and how her family roots continue to influence her.

Williams said, “How I found out about my new job is a funny story.”

A few months ago, when she was still in the position of Controlling, Finance and Administration (CFA), she was told that the board wanted to recognize her for all the work she was doing in the background.

“I didn’t know that our current CEO was retiring nor that I was in the succession plan, but I did want to suggest something if they were thinking about giving me a recognition gift,” she smiled. “So I shared my interest in page 12 of our company gift catalog. After I did that, they gave me the entire scoop, and we had a good laugh.”

As President and CEO, Williams now leads the North and South America operations for the world’s second-largest manufacturer and supplier of polymer stabilizers.

It made perfect sense that she had been on their succession planning radar. Williams had touched every aspect of the business, and from the outset, had made an impact and gotten results. When she brought her finance skills to Songwon from the energy business in 2015, she was instrumental in turnaround efforts, which resulted in efficiencies and profits.

Complementing her business knowledge are other standout CEO qualities like empathy, which allows her to connect to employees. Her leadership skillset empowers people to accomplish company goals. Excellent communication skills motivate and inspire momentum.

The senior executive-wife-mother, who attended Catholic schools growing up in Louisiana, credits her parents for their emphasis on faith, education and hard work.

Moreover, Williams cannot say enough about the preparation she gained at UST.

“St. Thomas did so much for me,” she said. “It’s the culture there that stands out and the high-level connections you can achieve.”

As for her future, Williams isn’t projecting. “I’m thankful for the opportunity, enjoying the moment and focusing on our continued success.”

She may not be an astronaut, but she has reached the stars in her professional field.