College of Business Administration and
Professional Achievement Award
Jay B. Williams, Grad '76
Jay Williams doesn't look like a hedgehog. But he lives like one.
Consider: Jay values the business book Good to Great. Good to Great values a principle called the Hedgehog Concept. The Hedgehog Concept values focusing clearly on what produces the best long-term results and saying no to the opportunities that don't.
It's a principle that has informed Jay's lengthy career as a banker. Also an influential principle at The PrivateBank, N.A., which concentrates on providing banking and investment services to businesses along with business owners, executives and professionals and where Jay serves as chairman and founder.
Hence, Jay lives like a hedgehog. A very successful one. It's a nice existence.
"I have been fortunate to be able to help clients and employees fulfill their dreams," Jay says. "I do what I do because I want to make a difference in their lives."
Jay worked his way up to his current position with hedgehog-like focus, working by day and earning an M.B.A. by night at Marquette, where the "hands-on faculty provided me the confidence to push myself and take risks." He spent 30 years at U.S. Bank and its predecessors, rising to president of U.S. Bank Wisconsin before leaving to open The PrivateBank, N.A. Jay also was director and chief executive officer of PrivateBancorp, Inc.
Outside work, Jay has led United Way campaigns; is chairman of the Southeastern Wisconsin Professional Ball Park District; and is on the board of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and Medical College of Wisconsin, among other worthy projects. He also translated the values he learned at Marquette into "five items that my kids get tired of hearing." They are: humility, passion, integrity, mutual respect and balance.
Fun facts about Jay
Someone (past or present) he’d like to have dinner with: Teddy Roosevelt