Terri Broussard Williams is a lobbyist, philanthropist, and former journalist who wrote ‘Find Your Fire’ to help turn moments into movements
Terri Broussard Williams insists you don’t need a pedigree in order to make a difference in the world, only purpose and the passion to act upon that desire. Her debut book, Find Your Fire: Stories and Strategies to Inspire the Changemaker Inside You, offers how to do just that in a time of heightened politics, civil unrest, and an ongoing pandemic.
Broussard Williams has been leading the way to impact change for more than 20 years as an award-winning lobbyist, notably spearheading efforts to pass smoke-free workplaces in her native Louisiana and Texas. She’s also been active in the public and community service sector, arriving at a point in her life of wanting to maximize all of her talents and create a template.
“There was a change in me, something that was stirring in me, where I was realizing all the tools that I had with me,” she tells theGrio exclusively.
Broussard William continues, “Yes and in fact, I was not happy because I could not use all of my energy. And so the two just kind of came together.”
Find Your Fire was self-published last month and stresses putting ideas into practice. Leaders in politics, activists, and entrepreneurs detail how they created necessary movements from getting laws passed to erecting a church. She initially started musing on her blog and the sustained interest and shared stories turned into a communal experience of others finding the fire inside them, spreading that spark or igniting it.
“I truly believe that this is the start of something different for me and something that is larger than me and every time I get weary, every time I think like, there’s no way that this message is going to spread like fire someone shows up to carry me along the way,” she says.
Broussard Williams is metric driven and hitting goals is critical for her. Find Your Fire has already earned a Top 10 distinction for best nonfiction books of 2020 causes and women in politics. Still, the feedback is just as important.
“Success for me really goes back to why I wrote the book. Like when somebody calls me, they tell me that they use this as a tool, you know, to start a movement to pass or to build a church or, you know, to bring a school to their community where it didn’t exist, then that that’ll be like the true measuring stick for me,” she declares.
Tamaria Kai Perry, senior director at Thurgood Marshall College Fund, has known Broussard Williams for years through their volunteer work. She believes Find Your Fire is needed during so much turbulence in the world.
“It’s going to pierce through the noise and help people to tap into the changemaker that I think is critical to leadership. Right. I think the first step of leadership is people beating themselves. And then I think about the organization and the other groups of people that they’re working with,” Perry says.
“[It] will provide that blueprint for people to do the reflection to come up with their game plan of how they can be that leader within. And then, you know, put ripples in the water so that they’re able to change the world.”
Vanessa Fuentes joined her friend on the Movement Maker: The Podcast with Terri Broussard Williams earlier in the year to discuss movement makers. The digital organizer and executive director of Measure, MeMe Styles tells theGrio that Broussard Williams gets things done. She’s “inspirational,” but has tried and true strengths that can bring change.
“Our country is going through a racial reckoning and having a book especially geared around how to build movements is especially timely and needed because we’re seeing movements all over this country. And I hope that people see it as such a movement and not a moment,” Fuentes says.
Fuentes further adds that the book, “highlights that no movement is built alone and that you really have to work with others in order to make meaningful change.”
Broussard Williams once stood as one of the few female lobbyists on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol and an upstart journalist who made the switch to politics. The Austin Business Journal named her one of the five most influential women in Central Texas. These milestones are results of her worth ethic and commitment.
A sense of community, giving back and a higher purpose guides her to recognize how each person can do their part just as she’s always done.
“I always say that I pack two things with me everyday. Faith and that’s just to know, like there is something larger than me that I’m working towards and I have to believe in something right and fortitude,” she says.
“And that’s why there is a way and obstacles don’t matter. You get your hustle on and you figure it out.”
Broussard Williams is working on having Find Your Fire placed in bookstores and it can be purchased online.
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