SALT LAKE CITY — Following a nationwide search, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed a veteran human services and nonprofit organization administrator as executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services.
Ann Silverberg Williamson, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations in Baton Rouge, La., will succeed Palmer DePaulis, who is retiring. Williamson's nomination is subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate.
“Ann has a record as a visionary leader, an effective administrator, and most important, a compassionate and caring person,” Herbert said in a statement announcing his selection. “She is well-suited to lead our human services team as they provide much-needed services for our most vulnerable citizens.”
Williamson is expected to take her post in November.
As president of the Louisiana association, Williamson advocated for Louisana's nonprofit community, working to enhance the effectiveness of groups and improve outcomes for the people they serve. In 2012, she was recognized by the Nonprofit Times as a Top 50 Nonprofit Leader of Power and Influence.
Previously, Williamson was the cabinet secretary for Louisiana’s Department of Social Services from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that appointment, Williamson was business retention specialist at the Memphis Center City Commission and a policy analyst in the Louisiana's governor's office.
Williamson earned a master’s degree in social work from Louisiana State University in 1998, and received a bachelor degree in theology from Wofford College.
She and her husband Tyler Everitt Williamson and the parents of two daughters and a son.
“Nothing is closer to my heart than helping people find the opportunity and the tools to improve their lives,” Williamson said in a prepared statement.
"I consider it an honor to answer the call in the realm of human services, in which I have spent my career, both in government and the private sector. I eagerly look forward to becoming a citizen of Utah and to working on a dynamic team dedicated to the common good."
The Utah Department of Human Services, which employs more than 4,000 people, provides direct and contracted services to the state's vulnerable children, families and adults.
DePaulis, who has worked in public service for 30 years, has led the department since 2010.