Beth Williams, the former president and chief executive of Roxbury Technology Corp. and a prominent leader in Boston’s Black business community, has died.
Williams, who was 57, took the helm at her father’s Hyde Park manufacturing business in late 2002 after his death. Roxbury Technology focused on making and selling remanufactured toner cartridges for laser printers, fax machines, and copiers; the company was founded by her father, Archie, in part to boost job growth in underserved communities and champion economic development.
Donna Williams, Beth’s older sister who worked with her at Roxbury Technology, said she “was a warrior.”
“She was an eloquent speaker, she fought for the community, the rights of women… She wanted to do so much for economic development in the community,” Williams said in a brief interview.
The cause of Beth Williams’ death was not immediately known.
Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey called Williams a “trailblazing entrepreneur” in a series of tweets on Friday.
“She was the embodiment of a compassionate and generous leader who dedicated her time and energy to uplifting everyone around her and giving a second chance to those in need,” Janey wrote.
For years, Williams has been involved in the City of Boston’s efforts to close the gender wage gap, which included analyzing payroll data at local companies and working with firms to address inequities. Prior to leading Roxbury Technology, she was director of business diversity at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Segun Idowu, the president and chief executive of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, shared the news of Williams’ death in an e-mail sent to members and supporters on Thursday evening. He said she was one of BECMA’s newest board members.
“This is an enormous loss for the BECMA team, the Roxbury community, the city of Boston, our Commonwealth, and the New England region,” Idowu wrote. “We mourn this sudden and tragic news.”
Under Williams, Roxbury Technology grew to have $16 million in annual sales and a 75-person workforce at its height. The company also forged a partnership with office-supply retailer Staples, based in Framingham.
“To Beth, her most important role as a CEO was to provide critical workforce skills opportunities for members of our community who are often overlooked or cast away,” Idowu said.