Elon’s new chief financial officer brings to the university more than 35 years of experience in both higher education and corporate positions.
Following a national search, Janet L. Williams, vice president for finance at Wake Forest University, has been named vice president for finance and administration at Elon University. Williams will join Elon April 15, serving on the university’s senior staff and succeeding interim vice president Susan Kirkland, who returns to her position as associate vice president for business and finance.
“Janet Williams is a strategic leader who has extensive experience as a chief financial officer and manager of complex operations,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “She will draw upon her rich background in higher education, business and industry, enabling Elon to continue its long history of outstanding fiscal management and operational efficiency.”
As part of this leadership transition, the current Division of Business, Finance and Technology will be renamed the Division of Finance and Administration, effective on June 1. This new name for the division reflects the broad scope of the operations under Williams’ supervision. She will oversee the departments of business and finance, human resources, physical plant, information technology, campus safety and police, auxiliary services, administrative services, internal audit and planning, design and construction.
Williams brings to Elon nine years of experience in higher education and 29 years of experience in business and industry. Since 2018 she has led Wake Forest’s business and finance units, including accounting, student financial services, campus financial services, financial information systems, procurement and payment services, risk services, financial statement preparation, tax, payroll, treasury services and investments. She is a member of the university’s steering committee for the implementation of Workday, an enterprise-level financial management, human capital management and planning software system.
She has provided support and financial expertise to the Wake Forest University board of trustees and several committees. She has also been involved with students, co-leading the Community-Based Global Learning Program in Ecuador, which created local partnerships and provided learning opportunities for first-generation students.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, Williams served two years at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, where she was interim vice president for finance and administration and also served as the college’s controller. There she served as the college’s chief financial officer and treasurer and oversaw information technology programs, physical facilities, auxiliary services and financial services.
Williams began her work in higher education by serving four years at Cornell University Ithaca, New York, where she was administrative director for the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
“I love working in higher education and I am inspired by Elon’s mission and student-centered values,” Williams said. “The Boldly Elon strategic plan provides a framework for the next decade of growth and I am excited to be a part of the talented and committed team that will further Elon’s position as a national university.”
Prior to her work in higher education, Williams served in business and industry for 29 years in New York and Texas. She held several senior-level positions during seven years of work with Lockheed Martin Corporation, Owego, New York. She also spent six years as a business controller for Corning, Inc., Corning, New York.
Williams spent 14 years with Kraft Foods, Inc., based in Campbell, New York, and Garland, Texas, serving as plant controller. She began her career in 1983 as a staff auditor with the Ernst and Young CPA firm in Dallas.
Williams has a master of business administration (MBA) degree in production operations management from the University of North Texas, Denton, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas, Austin. She is a member of the CPA societies in North Carolina and New York.
Throughout her career, Williams has been an active volunteer, serving with several community organizations in North Carolina and New York, including the Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County in Winston-Salem, the Children’s Home in Binghamton, the Economic Opportunity Program/Community Action Agency in Elmira and the Friendship Baptist Church Missions Ministry in Corning. She has led humanitarian missions to Haiti, Jamaica and Belize, and participated in missions to Liberia and Ghana, among other countries.
In addition, she is part of a dual career marriage and has been married to her husband, Paul, for 26 years. They are the proud parents of a college freshman.
About Janet Williams
University of North Texas, Denton – Master of Business Administration in production operations management
University of Texas, Austin – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting
2018-2021 Vice President for Finance, Wake Forest University
2016-2018 Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, Ithaca College
2016 Controller, Business and Finance, Ithaca College
2012-2016 Administrative Director – Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
2011-2012 Multi-function Finance Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation
2009-2011 Business Operations Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation
2007-2009 Pricing Proposal Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation
2005-2007 Finance Business Application Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation
1999-2005 Business Controller – Corporate and Steuben Glass Division, Corning, Inc.
1985-1999 Plant Controller and other positions, Kraft Foods, Inc.
1983-1985 Staff Auditor, Ernst and Young CPA