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Barbara Williams-Skinner

Skinner Leadership Institute president Barbara Williams-Skinner was born in Antioch, California, in 1943. Williams-Skinner completed her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University before attending the University of California, Los Angeles. Williams-Skinner went on to earn her M.S.W. and her J.D. degrees from UCLA. For several years, Williams-Skinner promoted urban leadership and inner-city concerns as executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Williams-Skinner also served on the boards of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center; Volunteers of America; the National Political Congress of Black Women; the Christian Community Development Association; and Evangelicals for Social Action.

In 1992, Williams-Skinner and her husband, the Reverend Tom Skinner, former chaplain to the Washington Redskins and New York Yankees, founded the Skinner Leadership Institute. The endeavor combined two of Williams-Skinner's core ambitions - leadership building and evangelism - into one occupation. The Institute offered leadership development and reconciliation to people of all backgrounds and faiths, especially leaders, students, and youth with emerging leadership potential. The Skinner Leadership Institute aimed to produce a new cadre of leaders who were both technically excellent and spiritually mature, pledged to promoting reconciliation, and working for those in physical or spiritual need.

Williams-Skinner also served as a board member of Operation Rainbow PUSH; the Christian Community Development Association; and the Neighborhood Learning Center. Williams-Skinner was involved with the Community Empowerment Equity Partnership, which ran an Urban Leadership Academy at Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C. Williams-Skinner provided leadership development curriculum and teacher training for the program.

Barbara Williams-Skinner raised two stepdaughters: Lauren Skinner Gaines, and Kyla Jewell Skinner.

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Nystrom Elementary School

Roosevelt Junior High School

Richmond High School

San Francisco State University

University of California, Los Angeles

Howard University School of Divinity

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Favorite Vacation Destination

Baja California

Favorite Quote

That's absolutely excellent.

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Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

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United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Tofu)

Short Description

Spiritual leader Barbara Williams-Skinner (1943 - ) is the founder and president of the Skinner Leadership Institute.


Congressional Black Caucus

Skinner Leadership Institute

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Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Williams-Skinner interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner lists her parents' dates and places of birth

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her parents' lives together

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Williams-Skinner shares some great details of her mother's life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Williams-Skinner explains her parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers her early home life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara Williams-Skinner describes her childhood community of Richmond, California

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers the church of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Williams-Skinner describes her religious journey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner lists the schools she attended

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner describes influential teachers/counselors

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers modes of leadership

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses civil rights activism during her college years

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers the efforts of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses the racial/political climate of California's Bay Area in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner describes her involvement with the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's presidential campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers the pioneers of the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses the Congressional Black Caucus's agenda

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses the religious influence of her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Williams-Skinner recalls meeting her future husband

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner details her husband's religious awakening

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her career change

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner describes the mission of the Skinner Leadership Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her ministry's philosophy on religious denomination

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner explains her decision to pursue studies in divinity

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Williams-Skinner remembers influential divinity scholars at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers the role of women in the black church

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers female leadership in the church

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses cultural interpretations of the Bible

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner shares her philosophy on the word of God

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner advocates living with integrity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses the role of Christianity in American culture and society

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers post-slavery reconciliation in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses the relationship between Africans and African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Barbara Williams-Skinner explains the advantages of small ministries

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Barbara Williams-Skinner considers what she would do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses how she would like to be remembered







Barbara Williams-Skinner discusses her career change
Barbara Williams-Skinner describes the mission of the Skinner Leadership Institute
After we got married [to Tom Skinner], I left the Congressional Black Caucus in 1981 and went to work as part of his ministry, which was really strange and different, you know, leaving the government where you have a definite set, you know, income and you have a business card and people--you can open any door and people are impressed with your title and position. And all of a sudden, you're in a ministry and people say, ' Well, what do you do?" (Laughter) And you say, "Well, I help people." So it was a very difficult transition for me, but it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life, and I don't know what I would be doing. It's like I've always done this. It's very consistent with where I started in my early childhood of serving and facilitating and, you know, being the behind the scenes support and problem solver. So God has been following me all along, and just let me have my period of being disconnected, and only to bring me back to my roots. So I don't see this as a revolutionary change from my past. I see it as just a continuum.$What are the activities of the ministry and--?$$Well, there're three areas that we work in. And all of--the vision of the ministry is to produce a new generation of leaders who are both technically and morally excellent. That's the key, technical and moral excellence. Many leaders are technically excellent. They're the best at what they do, you know. They are the highest--they have the highest standard of workmanship, they're competent, they're sought after for, you know, for the, whether it's literature, technology, science, music, poetry, whatever. But they're not morally competent. They lie, they cheat, they steal. You can't count on them. They're unreliable, they're self-centered, they don't care about others, they don't care who they hurt. Or you have people who are morally excellent, but they don't even know who's President of the United States. They don't know, they don't vote, they're not registered, they're not really connected, they're not the best in their jobs. So our vision is that, for a leadership to deal with the problems of this age, the leader has to be both morally and technically excellent. And that's really what we work on. And we do it in three areas. One is we work with current leaders. We go alongside leaders who are making a difference for our people, you know, a Coretta Scott King or a Maya Angelou or, you know, people are maybe not as well known but who are making a real difference, mayors of cities and congressional leaders and business leaders, who are committed to social justice, but who need to connect with other leaders. So that's why we do the--the leadership retreats and seminar, bringing leaders together to bridge the gap, to break down walls, to create a more coherent, you know, kind of impact. Leaders who know each other and who trust each other are better able to work together more effectively for African Americans. Many times causes fail just because leaders don't come together, very important causes that could make a difference in our community, our economic, our social, our political lives. So, facilitating people coming together and building trusting relationships, we consider a very important part of that social justice movement. So that's the first thing we do. Secondly, we have full-time work at Howard University [Washington, D.C.] where we work with student leaders who are the next generation of leaders. We help students connect their faith to their intellectual pursuits and their career kind of pursuits and dreams. And we help them define more clearly what it means to be morally excellent and technically excellent, through all kinds of activities, you know, fun activities to seminars, from Christian homecoming and pizza parties to seminars on Capitol Hill [Washington, D.C.]. We've taken them to Wall Street [New York, New York], to, you know, to understand what money is and how does money--what is a biblical concept of money, a biblical concept of leadership, you know, of relationships, of power. How do you handle power. The students who want to become a law student in an environment and a profession that's filled with greed and immoral activities: how do you penetrate that, the law on the side of justice and still make a good living, you know, for yourself or students who are interested in medicine. How do you deal with the medical profession that is corrupt and is milking people through these insurance companies? How do you enter those fields as a person with a godly character? So that's what we do.