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John Williams

Chairman & CEO, Williams, Blanchet & Associates, LLC

Industry Expert

John Williams
John Williams is a transformational executive leader with extensive, wide-ranging experience in several sectors, including strategy consulting, large corporate environments and entrepreneurial start-ups. He is an innovative and creative thinker with breakthrough leadership skills. Currently, John serves as Chairman & CEO of Williams, Blanchet & Associates, LLC, a strategic advisory firm specializing in higher education services, aviation management, and luxury consumer services. He also serves aa a Venture Partner at Extension Engine, a Cambridge-based ed-tech company that designs and builds custom digital learning experiences for colleges and universities, for learning organizations and for nonprofit organizations. He started his career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company, where he was the first person of color ever hired and worked with a number of Fortune 500 clients. He went on to a successful career as a senior executive at American Express, where he led a highly-successful re-positioning of the U.S. Platinum Card and a major reorganization of the U.S. Consumer Travel Network that led to a quadrupling of profitability. John left American Express in the mid-1990s to become a dot-com entrepreneur, as CEO of After building that company and leading a successful sale of the business, John moved to Boston to become CEO of eBizJets, which later became Sentient Jet. He led the company from $8 million in annual revenue to $54 million over just three years, prior to a successful sale to a private equity firm. John then shifted his focus to higher education. He led consulting services for Eduventures and later served as a partner in the higher education practice at The Bridgespan Group, a non-profit spinoff of Bain & Company. Between 2015-2019, John served as President of Muhlenberg College, a selective, private, four-year liberal arts college located in Allentown, PA. He led a transformation of the college, particularly by expanding partnerships with graduate and professional schools and upgrading career services. John currently serves as a Venture Partner with Extension Engine, a Cambridge-based firm that develops custom learning experiences for clients in higher education, learning organizations and nonprofits, and is the co-founder of the Celeritas Center for Multicultural Equity, a non-profit focused on advancing educational and economic opportunities for those who are affected most directly by systemic racism. John graduated from Amherst College in 1975 with a BA in economics, magna cum laude. He then earned both a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979. He is a (retired) member of the bar in both New York and Massachusetts. In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, Williams is a musician, a pilot, a lifelong learner and a world-traveler. He was the original drummer and a lead singer in the Bain Band. He sings and tours internationally with a men's chorus called the Mastersingers. Williams has been a private pilot since 1983, is certified as an Airline Transport Pilot to fly both single- and multi-engine aircraft, and has amassed over 2,700 flight hours. He is interested in cosmology and particle physics, military history (particularly WWII), nature photography, motorcyclying and tennis. He has traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Education & Learning, Aviation & Aerospace, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, Ecommerce, Education Technology, Legal, Marketing, Services, Transportation & Logistics, Travel, Tourism, & Hospitality

Can help with
  • Scaling & business growth
  • Business strategy
  • Product-Market-Fit
  • Company culture & team

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