Wendy Walker Williams
Executive Director, Community Partnerships


Formerly the executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, Wendy ensures community stakeholders are informing and engaging in UChicago's core areas of civic engagement work, including but not limited to support for local entrepreneurship, community safety, and neighborhood development. She also helps to advance community engagement strategies that build strong partnerships and connect community stakeholders across the mid-South Side to the breadth of University resources. 
Wendy has more than 25 years of experience working in nonprofit leadership, civic engagement, planning, and community development. As executive director of SECC, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life in the Kenwood, Oakland, Hyde Park, Woodlawn and Washington Park communities, she was responsible for leading the programmatic shift from enforcing building code and tracking crime statistics to strengthening the neighborhoods through economic and community development initiatives. Under Wendy’s leadership, SECC led the effort to designate 53rd Street, Hyde Park's main retail corridor, as a Special Service Area, branding it “Downtown Hyde Park.” During her tenure, the SECC implemented various business district improvement initiatives in Woodlawn, Washington Park and Kenwood, restored the Neighborhood Enhancement Grants program to support high-impact neighborhood beautification projects, and launched the Woodlawn and Washington Park summits.

Before joining SECC, Wendy served as an assistant commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, deputy director of finance and administration for Gallery 37, and senior program manager for the Office of Community Relations and Involvement. She is vice chair of the Cook County Housing Authority, president of the South Chapter of the Independent Voters of Illinois Precinct Origination (IVI-IPO), and active in many national and local civic organizations. Wendy received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Hampton University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Roosevelt University.