Barbara Butts Williams, Ph.D.

Dean Emerita, School of Business
Capella University

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Dr. Barbara Butts Williams is an extraordinary business, academic and community leader. She began her career over 45 years ago in employee education and leadership development, rising quickly to lead staff and line functions in strategy, human resources, marketing, sales, consulting, education and professional services in the public, private and higher education sectors.

Currently, she serves as Executive Dean, External Relations & Partnerships and Dean Emerita, School of Business at Capella University, leading the organization’s social responsibility and community engagement strategy. Since joining Capella in 2002, Barbara has served in several executive positions including Dean, School of Business and Technology and Dean, School of Education.

Barbara’s roles outside of Capella have included; President of Growth Partners Consulting, a firm she founded to provide strategic planning, talent assessment, change management, and organizational development to small and medium sized organizations. She served as Chief Global Officer of Leadership Development and Talent Management and Corporate Officer for Education at the St. Paul Companies (now Travelers), St. Paul, Minnesota. She held executives roles at Wilson Learning Corporation, Eden Prairie, Minnesota in Marketing, Sales and Product Development.

Barbara currently serves on the following community boards; Allina Health Systems (Vice Chair, Compensation and Human Resources Committee), Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Board Chair), and Minnesota’s Sports Facilities Authority (Vice Chair). She serves on several advisory councils and committees for a variety of organizations.

Barbara’s community involvement and board service over the past four decades is extensive, serving as board member, advisor, and volunteer for several non-profit organizations including, Northside Empowerment Zone; The Institute for Transpersonal Psychology; Harvard University’s Media & Publishing Group; The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management; The University of Michigan’s School of Business; Metropolitan State University; Hennepin County Library Foundation; Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation; NEON; Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund; and Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus.

Barbara received her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems and Masters in Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California. She also has a Masters in Leadership and Business from Hamline University.