Tonya Williams

Head of External Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, Softbank

Tonya Williams is an innovative strategist with extensive public and private sector experience. She is the Head of External Affairs and Corporate Responsibility at SoftBank where she leads engagement with external stakeholders, directs firm-wide sustainability and ESG initiatives, and works closely with investment teams to increase and evaluate deal flow, expand networks, and deliver critical post-investment support. She also manages outreach and ecosystem partnerships for Softbank’s Opportunity Fund – a $100 million venture fund created to invest in emerging technology companies led by underrepresented entrepreneurs. In addition to her work at SoftBank, Tonya serves on the Board of Directors for Evelo Biosciences (Nasdaq: EVLO), she is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and an adviser to Hangar Management, a public sector investment firm.
Born and raised in Greenville, N.C., she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina School of Law. Following graduation, she spent a year and a half backpacking around the world before accepting a judicial clerkship at the N.C. Court of Appeals. After her clerkship, Tonya served as General Counsel to the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate for five years, developing and implementing the caucus’s political and legislative agenda before joining the executive management team at GlaxoSmithKline. In 2008, she returned to public service and moved to Washington, DC where she worked as Chief of Staff to Congressman G.K. Butterfield until 2011, when she took a position at the White House serving as the Director of Legislative Affairs for Vice President Joe Biden. In 2016, Tonya was appointed Vice President for Policy, Communications and Knowledge Analytics at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she led strategic planning and outreach for the $10 billion charitable foundation. Following her appointment at Kellogg, she joined the newly formed Global Government Affairs team at SoftBank, one of the world’s largest investors and operators in the emerging technology sector.