Darrin L. Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., will lecture through the College of Business Lecture Series on April 25, with speeches at 9:45 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. in the Baioni Conference Center.
Williams’ career is a unique combination of business, law and politics. Currently serving as the CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., Williams oversees the strategic direction and operations of each of Southern’s three Community Development Financial Institutions — Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a nonprofit development finance and lending organization, collectively known as “Southern.”
Southern was founded nearly 30 years ago when some of the nation’s most notable political, business and philanthropic leaders, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rob Walton, Muhammad Yunus and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to name a few, came together around a central idea — that the economic challenges facing many underserved communities could in part be addressed through the creation of a values-based financial organization focused on providing these services to those who most need them.
With an initial investment of approximately $10 million and a mission to create economic opportunity, Southern has grown to become one of the most effective and largest community development organizations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions. Southern Bancorp today is a $1.2 billion asset organization with over 80,000 customers and 44 locations primarily in underserved markets in the Mid-South.
“The College of Business Lecture Series invites prominent scholars, governmental leaders, and practitioners to campus to expose our students, inform our community and contribute to the informed decision-making of our society,” said Dr. Billy Moore, dean of the College of Business. “This year’s lecture is especially significant because of the current challenges facing our economy. We honored to have someone of Mr. Darrin Williams’ caliber to come and share his experience and expertise with our College of Business family and Delta community.”
Prior to leading Southern, Williams served as managing partner at the law firm of Carney, Williams, Bates, Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC, where he focused on representing institutional investors and consumers in class action litigation against some of the nation’s largest publicly-traded companies. Williams also served three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives (2008-2013), serving as Speaker Pro Tempore of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly. As a lawmaker, he was recognized nationally for his legislative accomplishments, including being named a Champion of Small Business by the National Capital Coalition, an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership by the Aspen Institute, and listed as one of 12 state legislators from around the country to watch by Governing Magazine.
Williams received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College, in Conway, Arkansas, his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law, in Nashville, Tennessee, and his Master of Laws degree in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
The lectures are free and open to the public. A luncheon will follow Williams’s lectures. For more information, contact the College of Business at 662-846-4200.