Spokane’s Latrice Williams Opens D&I Week with Call to Embrace Equal Opportunity

April 18, 2023

The path to prosperity wasn’t easy for Latrice Williams, an inspirational Spokane businesswoman, author, singer and housing advocate.

But, Williams says, with hard work, perseverance and personal accountability — along with a truly inclusive community willing to give people of all backgrounds a fair shot  —  every young person can, like her, chart a course for success.

Williams’ message came during an hour-long keynote address on Monday that kicked off EWU’s 12th annual Diversity & Inclusion Week. The address opened with Williams singing Masterpiece, an anthem of self-affirmation by Jazmine Sullivan. She was accompanied by her friend and colleague, Jaime Stacy, on keyboard.

Williams then went on to speak about her journey. She grew up in a religious household, she said, with a preacher father and a missionary mother. A rebellious young person, she ran afoul of the law and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. After her release, she worked to make a go of it in Hayden, Idaho. For a young, formerly incarcerated African American woman, the odds of success were long.

But Williams was determined to change and prosper. After returning to the Spokane area, she found a job with the state of Washington. Then, against the advice of industry insiders who said she’d never survive the competition, Williams sat for and passed the real estate licensing exam. In her first year as an agent, she sold 44 homes and was named “rookie of the year” by her then-employer, Keller Williams Realty Spokane.

Williams said she knows this is an unusual outcome for someone who has served time. Which is why she runs an accountability group where she mentors young women who themselves want to do better. “This may seem like a scary thought to think of — that people can really change — but how can we even say we’re being inclusive if we don’t consider everyone?” she said.

Today Williams is a managing broker and her own boss at the firm Vision Properties, where, according to a profile on Realtor.com, she has “cultivated a passion for the under-privileged, making it my priority to see that people are treated equally.”

Williams also plays an important role in the wider community. She works as a political activist focused on housing issues, a professional singer and a published expert on real estate and investment strategy — all while being a proud mother of seven, including a daughter who is a student in EWU’s Running Start program.

“I am standing before you today as a very successful young Black woman who was formerly incarcerated,” Williams, 36, told her audience at the PUB. “It is possible. It is possible, but we need people like us, who will stand up and hold others accountable.”

Diversity & Inclusion Week 2023 runs through April 21. For more event information refer to the D & I Week Calendar of Events.