Jacqie McWilliams is the first ever African-American woman to be elected as the commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and she’s been running strong for six years now.
Before that, she pretty much has seen everything there is to see when it comes to college athletics — particularly at HBCUs.
McWilliams was an athlete herself. She played volleyball and basketball at Hampton University where she studied psychology. Afterward, she coached at Virginia Union University and went on to work for the NCAA in administration and management. In her nine years with the NCAA, McWilliams was in charge of running many national championships including a number of March Madness-es (she’s just crazy about basketball).
But after all that work in the NCAA, she knew her heart belonged to the CIAA. Her dream was to become the commissioner of the conference that had been so dear to her. In our eyes, rule breakers are the people who make dreams happen, and McWilliams is definitely one of them.
On this episode, we talk to McWilliams about assuming a leadership role as an African American woman, owning her natural hair in the workplace, the CIAA basketball tourney potentially leaving Charlotte after 13 years and her favorite HBCU memories.