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Episode 2 with Don Williams | Convening Collaborations for Societal Change

I continue my discussion with Don Williams, the former CEO and chairman of Trammell Crow Company.

Listen as we highlight how Don and his team, which I was a part of for four years, established the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE) and their strategies for addressing gang violence, affordable housing, and improving public education.

Learn about FCE’s role as a neutral third party and convener in collaboration with the community.

Tune in to discover how they leveraged their credibility to make changes at scale and work towards community involvement to create lasting impact.


Show Notes

About the Guest(s):

  • Don Williams: Former CEO and Chairman of Trammel Crow Company, a global commercial real estate development firm. Williams is the founder of the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE) and has dedicated the past 18 years to strengthening lower-income neighborhoods, with a particular focus on South Dallas.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, host Cecilia Edwards continues her conversation with Don Williams, diving deeper into the strategies used at the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE). Williams discusses the importance of trust and trustworthy behavior in community development work. He shares stories of collaboration with community leaders, the role of FCE as a neutral third party, and the power of having a prominent business executive leading the charge. The episode highlights the success of FCE’s initiatives, such as addressing gang violence, improving public education, and advocating for affordable housing. Williams also reflects on the challenges faced during the revitalization of Fair Park and the importance of leveraging influence to drive systemic change.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trust is crucial in community development work, and trust requires trustworthy behavior.
  • Collaboration with community leaders and listening to their needs and concerns is essential for successful initiatives.
  • FCE played a role as a neutral third party and convener, bringing together diverse stakeholders to address community challenges.
  • FCE’s initiatives included addressing gang violence, improving public education, and advocating for affordable housing.
  • Leveraging influence as a prominent business executive can drive systemic change and create a positive impact.

Notable Quotes:

  • “There’s nothing that can really happen that’s enduring without trust. And trust requires trustworthy behavior.” – Don Williams
  • “You have to go where people are and meet them on their ground. And you have to be eye to eye and listen more than you talk.” – Don Williams
  • “Healthy revitalizations are crucial to revitalizing low-income neighborhoods.” – Don Williams


  • Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE) – Website

Listen to the full episode to gain insights from Don Williams’ experience in community development and his strategies for driving positive change in lower-income neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations on The Business of Impact podcast.

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