WILKES-BARRE — The Wilkes-Barre NAACP has chosen Robert Williams as honorary chair for the 20th annual Freedom Fund Banquet, slated for Oct. 27.
Williams has served as General Manager/CEO at the Westmoreland Club since 1995. Established in 1873, the venerable club on South Franklin Street boasts 1,500 members, including individuals and families from northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as non-resident members from around the country.
The Freedom Fund Banquet is the premier fundraising event for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons, and to eliminate race-based discrimination,” local NAACP president Guerline Laurore wrote in a media release. “It is their hope that the community’s support of this event will allow the NAACP to continue its work for equality and justice. With Robert’s expertise, this year’s banquet promises to be a wonderful event.”
Laurore praised Williams’ management of the club, noting several awards won during his tenure.
“The Westmoreland Club achieved Platinum Club status in 2009, was ranked the No. 8 city club in the country in 2012 and received Distinguished Emerald Club of the World status in 2014. Following an evaluation in 2017, the club was elevated to Distinguished Emerald Club, Elite Status for achieving the highest-level scores for member experience. This year for the first time, city clubs were included in the ranking of Platinum Clubs of the World and the Westmoreland Club is now among the top 100 clubs worldwide with only 29 of those clubs located in the United States.”
Williams previously served as food and beverage manager for the Bradley House in Pittsburgh and as executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg under Gov. Bob Casey. He won the Mel Rex Excellence in Club Management award in 2014, given to those “who have exhibited outstanding skills in managing their club.”
Williams is a certified club manager, Certified Executive Chef, a Level I Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, first vice president of the Central Pennsylvania Club Managers Association, member of the City and Athletic Clubs Association, National Club Association, and Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association. Showing his own musical flair, he served as guest conductor for the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic in 2012.
A Mountain Top resident, Williams has been married to wife Jeanette for 32 years. They have three children: Christopher Williams who resides in Kingston, Corinne Williams, Esq., of Philadelphia, and Alaina Williams, a junior at Penn State University.
Members of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre Freedom Fund Banquet Planning Committee are David Barber, Lauren Barnes, Tony Brooks, Guerline L. Laurore, Esq. (Chair), Max Laurore, Andita Parker Lloyd, Jay Nortasamo and Dr. Andrew Wilczac.
If you are interested in joining the committee, contact Guerline at 570-262-1360.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish