By: Seraphina Quinn
In a world where professional success often seems at odds with maintaining a fulfilling family life, Freddy and Melissa Williams stand as living inspirations. These modern-day Power Couple and philanthropists, who met at the University of Florida, defied the odds by each becoming CEOs before the age of 30 and achieving remarkable business success before 40. Their secret? A strong bond to family values, faith, and support for one another.
Driving Success: Freddy and Melissa Williams
Freddy and Melissa Williams, a dynamic couple in both business and family life, have redefined success. Their story began at the University of Florida, where they first crossed paths, and from then on, their individual career paths have only skyrocketed. Before turning 30, both were successful CEOs, setting an example for their peers. Their success, however, is not only measured in business goals; it is also backed by their family values and faith. Since their marriage in 2010, they’ve put their belief in “placing God and family in front of their lives is the key to success.”
Traveling to All 50 States Before 18
The Williams family has set a goal to create lasting memories by traveling to all 50 states before their oldest child turns 18 years old. Freddy and Melissa, driven by their shared passion for exploration, have made it a mission to instill a love for adventure and discovery in their children. Their travels provide unique opportunities for bonding and allow them to share quality family time. As they explore their dream vacation plans across America, from the scenic coasts to the heartland, the Williams family is fulfilling a dream and reinforcing the idea that careers and family can coexist in harmony.
Melissa Williams’ timeline from her days as a law student to her current position as the Owner and Principal Attorney of Finley Williams Law Firm is a huge achievement. She began her legal career as a law clerk while in law school during the challenging times of the recession, when gaining paid legal experience was a big deal. Her determination led her to a clerkship with Judge Jack Day in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, followed by a role at a small law firm in The Villages, FL.
Her success as a young attorney didn’t go unnoticed, and the University of Florida’s law school sought her out to become an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching “Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation” to law students. Juggling between teaching and her work as an attorney, Melissa demonstrated her versatility. She was recruited to take on a newly created role as a Managing Attorney at Boyette, Cummins, & Nailos, to open a new office in The Villages, FL, at the young age of 26. Ultimately, she established her own law firm, Finley Williams Law, in the Tampa Bay market by age 28 with offices in St. Petersburg, FL and Lakewood Ranch, FL. Melissa’s leadership extends beyond her law practice as she is called on nationally as an expert witness in court cases and is a guest columnist with Bloomberg News. Statewide, Melissa is the Chair of the Guardianship Committee of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar. Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and ias the Vice Chair of the Guardianship and & Probate Committee for the St. Petersburg Bar Association.
Promoting Philanthropy and Leadership
Before becoming a renowned businessman, Freddy was a highly recruited athlete setting high school records in weightlifting and track while also serving as the captain of both his high school football and soccer teams. After witnessing his first cousin, Larry Roberts, overcome injuries after playing eight seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Freddy turned down an opportunity to play football at the University of Tennessee to focused on his education. Freddy successfully transitioned high performance in sports to the classroom was one of seven students at the University of Florida to be accepted into Harvard Law School his senior year. Rather than attending law school Freddy started his career in politics, working on political campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats as a consultant. Freddy participated in the Presidential Inaugural Program during President Barack Obama’s first term as President of the United States and was a Program Consultant to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. He left politics and entered nonprofits when he was 25. Since then, he has contributed to philanthropic and non-profit organizations globally and locally. He has focused most of his nonprofit career through youth development programs across the nation. He is the President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay and the Suncoast. He is also the National Board Chair for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Professional Association. Locally, he contributes as a member of the Board of Governors for the Pinellas Community Foundation and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he also shares his expertise at the Leadership Tampa Bay Foundation, working with future leaders in the community. Freddy’s interest in serving others and empowering the youth of America shows his involvement in these non-profit organizations. His philanthropic efforts reflect his professional success and commitment to making a positive impact on the communities far beyond.
An Inspiration to the Next Generation
Freddy and Melissa Williams are a symbol of individual success and also a source of inspiration for countless aspiring power couples. By portraying their unique blend of thriving careers and dedication to family and faith, they are examples of how to navigate the delicate balance between professional and personal life. Their story delivers hope, encouraging young couples to chase their dreams, regardless of their age, and reassuring them that the pursuit of success does not mean sacrificing family values. Freddy, as a nonprofit CEO, and Melissa, with her involvement in various legal and community organizations, send out a message loud and clear: “It is possible and imperative to prioritize both personal and professional necessities in the road to success.”