By Tim Priebe
May 16, 2024

Professional Q&A: Abby Williams

Discover how Abby Williams' passion for teaching and entrepreneurship drives her impact at Francis Tuttle and the Edmond community.
Abby Williams with Francis Tuttle in Edmond (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Abby Williams is an entrepreneurship instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center, a business owner, and an Oklahoma native. Learn about her lifelong passion for learning, what she thinks makes Edmond great, and how she ended up at Francis Tuttle.

Q: Do you live in Edmond, work in Edmond, or both?

A: I live in Edmond, work and teach in Edmond, and operate small businesses primarily in Edmond.

My stepfather and I run and own Northwest Pool Management. We are a turnkey pool management company for HOAs. We contract with about 42 HOAs across northwest Oklahoma City and Edmond. And we basically take care of the entire pool so they don’t have to. And we furnish lifeguards if they want lifeguards at their pool. 

Q: Where did you grow up and go to school? 

A: I grew up in northwest Oklahoma City and attended Putnam City North High School and then went to UCO. 

Q: What did you do before getting involved with Francis Tuttle?

A: I taught Family and Consumer Sciences for about 12 years. I taught that at Putnam City High School, and then I moved out to Driggs, Idaho, right at the base of the Tetons opposite Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So a really beautiful country. But I taught family and consumer sciences out there and then needed a break from teaching after my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I needed the flexibility to travel back and forth from Oklahoma to Idaho whenever I needed to.

So I took a break from teaching and, while out there, got a little bored. I was part of two restaurant startups that were super successful and they’re still out there. I’m not involved with them anymore.

But then I started missing teaching. I was only out of the classroom for about three years, and I just have to be teaching. It’s what I love to do the most!

So, at the same time, I had four aging grandparents who all lived back here in Oklahoma—all in their late 80s—and a younger sister who was entering high school. I just felt like I really needed to be back here in Oklahoma to spend some time with them.

So I looked for jobs and I said I either wanted to work at Francis Tuttle or UCO, which is where I went to school. Then I found this job and they thought I would be a good fit. 

Q: How did you get involved with Francis Tuttle?

A: One of the reasons that I wanted to work at Francis Tuttle is my mother had worked here. She was an educator her whole life. She taught most of her years at Putnam City North, but then taught in Project Hope with Francis Tuttle. And I knew how great of an experience she had, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I think the thing I like the most is that teaching, good teaching, requires you to be a lifelong learner. This is especially true now that I’m teaching entrepreneurship at our Danforth location. I’m teaching something that requires me to continuously keep learning, how to start a venture, how to lead, how to manage, how to scale, and then all of the nuances of different industries and types of businesses. Every day I’m researching something new or having conversations about stuff that I’m not an expert in.

I’ve always said if I could, my dream job would be a professional student for the rest of my life. If I could just be in college for forever, that would be beautiful. Because I love learning. I like being challenged and I like a bit of cognitive dissonance and, you know, not feeling so sure about any one thing.

So that’s my favorite thing. My second favorite thing is the students. 

Q: What’s something you’re passionate about in your personal life?

A: I spend most of my waking hours working. I should have more hobbies!

I’m also a single parent, so my “hobby” right now is being a good mother and supporting my daughter and everything that she does. She does English equestrian riding, so we spend a lot of hours out at the barn with me watching her ride. That is my passion right now.

I also love reading.

Q: What do you like about Edmond?

A: For me, it’s a lot of feelings of nostalgia. My grandparents lived in Edmond. My dad lived in Edmond, so I spent a lot of my time here while growing up. I have great memories of walking across the street from where my grandparents lived to the big field where Oklahoma Christian is now.

Now they have the walking track and athletic facilities, but we used to go over there and shoot rockets off, and we’d go to Lion’s Fun Park and ride go-karts. So, for me, just being an Edmondite, especially since I left and came back, I am regularly reminded of good childhood memories and the family and community that I was raised in. 

I also like that Edmond is safe and family-oriented, but also really progressive and interested in growing and stretching and innovating and supporting new businesses. And the restaurant scene is growing. So there’s a lot of things to love about Edmond.

Q: What is your number one tip for other professionals, either for work or life in general?

A: My best tip would be to see every person that they meet—especially students and students’ families and parents—as people, complex human beings as we all are. Really work to get to know their stories and understand who they really are and what life is like for them.

I think we live in a world where we just so quickly want to fill in all the blanks and make a bunch of assumptions. And usually those assumptions are things that make us feel more comfortable.

So my biggest tip would be just get to know people.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.