An encourager and not a discourager is the calling for Edmond's Avilla Williams
EDMOND — Avilla Williams, president of Intergris Health Edmond, told about 300 people this week during the Edmond Mayor's Prayer Breakfast that the Lord firmly let her know to “be an encourager not a discourager” after she prayed about a struggle in her life.
“It only took me a short time to clearly understand what he was telling me,” said Williams, with 36 years of clinical and administrative health care experience. “Please let the Lord's words to me resonate in you during my talk. Be an encourager not a discourager.”
Williams said her father fit that description as he built relationships and served others through his ministry, serving outside the confines of the conventional church.
She said he was like most men in the audience who have daughters struggling to find their place in life.
“He would look me in the eye and tell me I could be anything I set my mind to be, and I believed him,” said Williams, who now leads a team of more than 400 physicians, nurses, clinicians and other medical professionals who serve the health care needs of Edmond and the surrounding communities.
Power of words
“As a parent or a leader, don't ever underestimate the power of your words,” she said. “But do recognize that the memory of your actions are forever.”
Williams said her father once helped 15 students with rides home after they missed the bus following a high school football game.
“That night, I rode with my dad as he made several trips transporting students he knew and those he didn't know,” Williams said. “All he knew was that there was a need, and he stepped up.”
Williams remembers her father laughing, never admonishing them for being irresponsible.
“He even told them how proud he was of them for supporting their team,” Williams said.
Williams, who admits she is full of imperfections, said she stays focused because she is surrounded by people who are encouragers.
People around her know she expects greatness while recognizing that greatness is a journey.
“I do what I do because I love people, and I believe that is God's calling on my life, and he expects me to be an encourager not a discourager,” Williams said.
Mayor Charles Lamb gave the welcome during the breakfast, which is sponsored annually by the Edmond Heritage Alliance Inc., a nonprofit organization.