Maxim Williams

Banner MR

Class Year: 2000
Major at MC:   Psychology
Senior Thesis Topic: Olfaction and its Influence on Anxiety
Current Town/City of Residence: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Global Training Design Leader for Apple

Toggle All

Describe your career path since graduating from MC.

Upon graduating from Maryville, I spent a year as an Americorps VISTA for the Maryville Housing Authority. I lived in public housing working with those who were of lower income, tasked with creating programs and initiatives that would both meet their needs or build upon their gifts.

At the end of that experience, I decided to pursue a graduate education and relocated to the California School of Professional Psychology [Alliant International University] in San Diego California. I completed a Masters of Science in the field of Consulting Psychology. The degree is a blend of traditional Organizational Psychology, but more focused on how individuals operate within organizations and communities. During my time and shortly after earning my degree, I began a career in as an internal and external consultant in organizational development and psychology.

I worked briefly for a psychotherapist office that also coached executives and business owners on how to lead and inspire their people. I spent time working internally as a Wellness Consulting and EAP Manager for Cox Communications, a cable telecomm located in San Diego. I worked in HR and Training for Nokia Mobile Phone Research and Development, also in San Diego. I partnered with a graduate school colleague and friend to run a leadership and organizational development consulting firm, which took us all over the country, helping leaders lead and develop self-awareness. To help me become more accountable to mind, body, and spirit, I enrolled in martial arts classes. Roughly eight years later, I continue to train weekly, having become an instructor along the way.

While still in San Diego however, I had also intended to pursue my PhD. Approximately halfway through the process, I felt I needed to refocus my career and get more directly involved in helping others. I decided to make the move into healthcare and accepted a position as Director of Community Relationship Building for Bon Secours St. Francis Health system.

I relocated to Greenville, South Carolina although the health system headquarters is in Maryland. I was among the first group of leaders hired as part of a new initiative in 2008 to look at health and patient care issues as a social and population health challenge, not just a medical or acute care challenge.

For the following five and a half years, I was able to bring to life not just my experience and graduate training as a consulting psychologist, but also the formative experience and education during my time at Maryville.

While in South Carolina, I worked with neighboring communities and patient populations to co-create goals and opportunities for us to work together in ways that history said we should not have been able to. I helped start the first community based land trust in the state of South Carolina. I lead organizing efforts to help communities develop plans and engage in the residential and economic decisions made in their neighborhoods. I blurred the line between internal employee engagement and events and external community building opportunities. I facilitated anti-racism workshops through the YWCA and worked tirelessly to create bridges between the arts community and communities of color, raise awareness and create initiatives around local food and sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and address social determinants of health.

I had quite a storied run of amazing experiences, including speaking at TED events, regional conferences, presenting to the Federal Reserve on community development, speaking on issues of race and identity, and being a vocal and active participant in the arts. In 2013, I received a national leadership award from the Catholic Healthcare Association. It was around this time, I felt at a crossroads. I loved the work that I was doing but I was being asked, "What’s next?" I reflected on ways to expand what I had started, or becoming a more "traditional" healthcare administrator, or starting a more social enterprise and design focused firm, or answer a random message I received from a friend about a job at Apple...

I felt at this time, I was ready to take another big leap. The work I was leaving behind at that point should not be driven by one person but by the community. It was never about "me." With that in mind, I pursued an opportunity to work for Apple on the global training team.

I started in the fall of 2013, primarily responsible for designing learning content and development experiences for leaders at Apple globally. Nearing the end of the first year, I was asked to take on a leadership role myself and accepted a position to lead the training design team globally. I relocated to San Francisco and make the daily commute to Apple Headquarters in Cupertino currently.

Describe your job or a typical day “in the office.”

There really is no "typical day" at Apple. I support a team that at any given time is working on a number of learning and training related projects to support the Apple Stores, the online experience, or at headquarters. My hours each day vary. I am an early riser (I’m usually up by 4:30 am) and often my first meetings begin by 7:00 or 8:00 am. Many of my projects are global, so I often have evening conversations with my team and peers in Europe and Asia. I often take an Apple coach or shuttle into the office due to the 30-mile one-way commute from home to work. I usually try to leave the office in time to teach karate in the evenings in San Francisco. Given the nature of both my work and my passions, I am involved in many operational, strategic, and mission (community) impact areas of the organization. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose any of it but it has been a privilege to play a role in some of the great work Apple does for its employees, customers, and broader global community.

How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?

My time at Maryville - whether it was as a Bonner Scholar, or member of the various community-based groups and clubs, and the mentorship by very socially conscious and supportive professors - influenced my decision to organize my life and career choices around serving others.

At Maryville, I learned how to listen, to develop empathy, and to be "in community," not just "do for" community. I was exposed to the diversity of the human experience, and my compass has remained centered in that space ever since.

What has been your most exciting/enjoyable professional experience to date?

In the last year, outside of leading the training team, I was involved in helping Apple innovate as it relates to its impact on the community. I'm not at liberty to disclose the details but I was able to contribute both my affinity for community building, serving others, and design thinking to the project. We were able to capture the energy and voices of 60,000+ employees towards making a difference in their local and Apple's global community. We're now in the experimentation phase of many of the ideas that were gathered. Whether it's creating an environment for innovation, inclusion, and human impact at Apple or elsewhere, you can guarantee I'm having a great time!

What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?

I train, compete, and teach martial arts. The style of martial arts is called Tang Soo Do. It's a Korean art that blends elements of Tae Kwan Do, Chinese Kung Fu, and Japanese Karate. I've been studying the art since 2008. Prior that, I actually used to practice Kung Fu with a friend I met at Maryville College. He was one of the many international students I befriended. He was from Malaysia and could also play a mean game of table tennis. Also while at Maryville, I took a Tai Chi Chuan class and an Okinawa based karate class called Ishinryu Karate. I've always had a love for the martial arts, Eastern philosophies, and meditation. My current training allows me to continue to develop myself, support others in their growth as people and martial artists, and give back what has been given to me by the excellent instructors and Masters from whom I've had the privilege to learn. I enjoy traveling for competition when I can and am currently the two time Regional Champion and earned a gold medal in sparring at a World Championship event in July 2016.

What’s your best memory from your years as a student at MC?

My time volunteering in the community and the various mission trips I took to places like the Dominican Republic. I particularly enjoyed however leading the Erskine Tutoring program. I don't know if it's still active but that was truly the beginning of my eyes being opened to socioeconomic disparity. I learned so much as a Bonner Scholar working with migrant populations and low income communities in ways that provided a wonderful supplement and context to things I was learning in class.

I also have fond memories of my roommates, epic nights of video game playing, and hiking adventures in the mountains.

Professionally or personally, what’s still on your “bucket list?"

Trip to China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shaolin Temple), Japan, and various places across Europe. I'd love to see some Scottish Castles before I die. I would also love to see the Earth from space or at least near Earth orbit.

Eventually take my professional experiences, whether it be at Apple or the next organization I work for, and partner with, work for, or create an organization that is doing truly transformational work through co-creative, innovative, inclusive, and impact work in the areas of poverty, economics, and culture and identity.