A Leadership Journey From Compton to the White House

4 Minutes Read

Episode 133

Do you have a servant leadership style or servant leadership journey? Do you want to work on your mindset to have a leadership shift that benefits those around you? You’re in luck!

Darrell Williams grew up in Compton, California, which was ranked the fourth most dangerous city in America. He is a retired United States Army veteran and served at various stateside and overseas locations. Before his current role, he served as an Operations and Vice Presidential Communications Officer in the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), where he led over 500 White House missions. Following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Mr. Williams was selected as one of five key leaders out of 30 senior managers to direct emergency action communications for the United States Vice President, including duties as an Air Force Two Command Representative.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the complete episode:

    1. You will understand how to ask the right questions to have a mind shift.
    2. Darrell shares insight into his own experience of becoming a servant leader.
    3. Find out how Darrell’s influences helped him become a humble leader despite growing up in America’s 4th most dangerous city at the time.

Episode Highlights

Who is Darrell Williams

    • Darrell is the CEO of Alliance Seminars Coaching.
    • He is from Compton, California.
    • He taught leadership and travel strategies at the White House Communications Agency Training Academy. 
    • Darrell was one of five key leaders to direct Emergency Action Communication for the Vice President United States after 9/11.

Giving up a good role in the military

    • Darrell was taught whatever role you’re in is not for you; it’s for all the people that you get a chance to influence.
    • If you stand in a situation too long, you become bitter.
    • Darrell never tried to stay in a place longer than he was supposed to.

Being chosen as one of five key leaders to direct Emergency Action Communication for the Vice President of the United States

    • Darrell didn’t apply for the position.
    • He called the chief of staff to question his decision.
    • The Chief of Staff wouldn’t let him out of the role.
    • Darrell was chosen to set the foundation to influence those behind him.

Understanding his role after talking to the Chief of Staff

    • Darrell learned his role to teach someone else.
    • He wanted to serve his team through his leadership.
    • He wanted to benefit his team and give them opportunities.

Identifying Darrell’s influences

    • His mom was very spiritual and faith-based.
    • Darrell’s dad loved sports and working hard. 
    • Biblical influences also influenced Darrell.

Combatting those who think he doesn’t understand

    • Darrell explains that sometimes people who are hurt, hurt people.
    • You have to respect everybody.
    • Those who met Darrell referred to him as solid. 
    • Darrell was trusted by those who couldn’t trust many.

How Darrell navigated biases with his team

    • Darrell set a priority to learning his team right away.
    • He also asked them what he needed to do to help them accomplish what they needed to do.
    • He brought up past mistakes in non-judgmental ways. 

Steps to improve your leadership thoughts

    • You have to have a mind shift regardless of where you are going.
    • You have to find a mentor.
    • You have to have other people hold you accountable.

Why people resist seeking mentors

    • Some leaders duplicate what their mentors did.
    • Some mentors fail to share their mistakes to help someone avoid the same mistakes. 
    • It is a problem when leaders want to do it their way instead of the best way to receive credit.

How Darrell processes adversity

    • Instead of asking, “Why me?’ ask, “What can I learn from this?”
    • Being born in adversity can be a strength. 
    • Identify what dynamics you can and cannot control.
    • Go through a memory bank to figure out if you have been through a situation before to navigate it better. 

What Darrell wants to be remembered for

    • Darrell would first want people to say, “Man, that guy tried to squeeze every drop of talent and gift inside him. He tried to leave everything out there. He didn’t want to take anything with him.
    • The second thing he would want people to say is, “That guy tried to get me to get everything out of my gifts and out of my talents so that I can be better.”

3 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

4:32 – “I was always of the mindset that if I don’t get out of the way, somebody else doesn’t get a chance to enjoy this life. So I retired right at 20.”

13:37 – “Don’t learn it just so you can pass, learn it to teach somebody else.”

21:28 – “Sometimes people that are hurt, hurt other people. It has nothing to do with you at all. Sometimes they see you and see what they don’t have.”


About Darrell Williams

Darrell Williams is the CEO of Alliance Seminars Coaching, a veteran-owned, faith-based organization that provides clients with motivational speaking, certified workshops, and coaching services. 

Career highlights include leading short-notice, complex presidential missions to examine the effects of Hurricane Andrew in Florida and tornado damage in Arkansas; selection as Staff Support Unit Manager of the Year; selection as a WHCA All-Star member; and as the White House Communications Agency Senior Manager of the Year. Additionally, he was selected as a DISA Outstanding Mentor and Human Resources Team Lead of the Year. He is also a Master Certified Life Coach and part of the Federal Coaching Network.

He has received numerous professional awards, including the Presidential Service Badge, Lacey B. Ivory Service Award, Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award; National Louis University Reach Award; and the Strayer University Outstanding Alumni Award. Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from National Louis University and an MBA from Strayer University.

He is also a White House Communications Agency Hall of Fame member.


Connect with Darrell Williams




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Thanks for listening,


Picture of Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and Co-founder/CEO of Yokel Local Digital Marketing Agency. He and his teams have helped businesses generate over $300M+ in revenue online. Every month, he leads virtual workshops teaching actionable strategies and tips from his experience helping companies market, grow, and scale.