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Alumni & Friends

Alumnus Tim Williams at his desk at Safeway’s Pleasanton headquarters. Tim Williams helps small businesses, from bakeries to janitorial services, bring their products and services to Safeway. Photo by Lui Gino de GrandisBagging It Pays Off

Tim Williams (B.A., '90) put himself through SFSU working long hours bagging groceries at a neighborhood Safeway. Today, from his office at Safeway's corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, he directs the chain's diversity affairs department and helps women and minority business owners bring their products and services to the marketplace.

"What better way to develop a neighborhood than to target the supplier base," he says, adding that by connecting with Safeway, a multi-billion dollar corporation, small businesses have the opportunity to grow and bring on new hires.

When SFSU Magazine caught up with Williams he had just returned from a meeting with a group of farmers in North Carolina. "On trips like this I'm looking at their produce, trying to see how I can assist them," he says. "If they're not ready for Safeway, I give them advice and see if they might be ready for a smaller supermarket chain."

As an undergrad, Williams worked his way up to assistant manager of a San Francisco Safeway. After graduation, he applied his degree in economics to a position in the corporation's pricing department. "I stayed hungry," he says. "I always wanted to make a bigger impact behind the scenes."

Both Rosa Parks and Jesse Jackson have since presented him with awards for his work promoting diversity among Safeway's suppliers. Still, Williams says the personal connections he makes with people every day are the most rewarding part of his job: "It feels good when you can help make a difference in someone's life."


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Last modified February 18, 2005, by the Office of Public Affairs and Publications