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Alum Features

SJU grad honored as one of most admired CEOs of 2022

A Saint John’s University graduate has been named one of the 2022 Most Admired CEOs by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Paul Williams, the president and CEO of Project For Pride in Living – a Twin Cities-based nonprofit which works to provide affordable housing, career readiness services and financial counseling to lower income individual and families – is one of 10 honorees.

The group will be featured in a special publication due out Sept. 23. But prior to that, they will be honored at an awards ceremony scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 22 at the Minneapolis Renaissance Hotel, The Depot in downtown Minneapolis.

According to the magazine, this year’s honorees have “faced the challenges of a global pandemic, supply-chain woes, labor shortages and more. They also are leaders in their industries and communities through board service and volunteerism.”

A St. Paul native, Williams served as deputy mayor in his hometown before joining PPL in April 2014. He has also served as a grant maker for the Minneapolis Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation and the United Way of the St. Paul Area, as well as being part of the leadership on a number of community boards.

Williams is a 1984 graduate of SJU who majored in government (the forerunner to political science) and philosophy.

“It’s an honor to be recognized, especially with such a distinguished group of other community and business leaders,” Williams said. “This award is truly about our success here at Project for Pride in Living (PPL), which I have the privilege of leading. 

“PPL has thrived as we continue to build affordable housing and provide skill-building and career pathways for adults and young people. It’s the people who surround me that deliver our results, particularly in the last couple of years, and I share the adulation with them as well as my alma mater. 

“I’m grateful to Saint John’s for teaching me how to be a community builder.” 


Paul Williams ’84