Paul Williams has always been fascinated by how skillful language and strong imagery, when cleverly combined, have a way of making something come alive in people. It was this passion that naturally led him into the world of advertising and has shaped his career path for over two decades. After Williams matriculated from Grey High School in Port Elizabeth he completed a Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University with the intention of going into his chosen field. His aspirations were put on hold to complete his mandatory 18 months in the National Service, where he made good use of his degree by editing an Army newspaper called The Warrior.
Williams's first appointment in advertising was at Young & Rubicam Hedley-Byrne where he was hired as an assistant account executive on a number of corporate accounts. It was the ideal job to cut his teeth in the industry and Williams gained invaluable experience working with retail giant, Pick n Pay, where he was responsible for Northgate and two country hypermarkets account. Williams was soon promoted to account executive, and subsequently, account manager, working on the full portfolio of Hypermarkets in South Africa. His next move was to the packaging department where he was responsible for all the design of Pick n Pay no-name brand, Choice and Food Hall packaging.
Williams then decided to take a sabbatical and moved to Knysna where he actively pursued spiritual guidance concerning the direction of his life. After 18 months he was offered a position at Ammurati Puris Lintas advertising agency to work on the KFC account with a focus on the youth market. He also gained extensive experience on the Unilever account working on a number of FMCG products. Williams left Lintas to take up the appointment of account director at Bozell Wilsenach on the Jeep and Chrysler brands. His next move would open the doors to his future when he landed the position of client service director at Vaseline Advertising to work on the Vodacom account with the now managing director of human.kind, Deon Kruger. Williams recalls the lengths they went to, to ensure that the Vodacom brand was integrated across the South African retail market effectively and recalls an occasion where they almost painted the logo on goldfish! It was here that he was awarded Vaseline's "most valuable employee".
Williams left Vaseline to once again fulfill a spiritual vocation in his life, and began to study a four year Bachelor of Theology degree. After two years, he again met up with Kruger who since had started up MGM (now rebranded human.kind). He began working as a part-time strategist at MGM and at the end of his studies he joined the team in a full-time capacity as an account director. Williams then moved into a client service directorship and today holds the lofty title of business unit director.
During his time at human.kind, Williams moved to Russia for 18 months to follow his calling. Here, he enrolled with the state university where he studied the Russian language and taught English. He also started an advertising agency while he was there but was forced to close it down by the modern KGB! Unbeknown to him, he had broken the cultural rules by not asking permission prior to starting the enterprise. What he holds most dear during his time in Russia is the work he undertook with a number of children's homes, in a step to fulfilling his vision of restoring hope after communism. Williams returns to Russia annually to arrange Christmas parties for children's homes and over the years this has grown to accommodate support eight homes and over 450 children.
Back in Johannesburg, Williams is part of the human.kind management team whose goal is to shape an environment that can consistently create exceptional advertising that is both creative and produces the desired outcome for their well-loved clients.
In his spare time Williams likes to get out of the 'big smoke' and enjoys weekends away near water, a forest or the mountains. He is also an avid reader and always has a book on Russia close at hand.