Steady Hand

The Port of South Louisiana welcomes a New Chief Administrative Officer: Chambrel Riley-Williams brings experience and a strong vision to her tenure at the Port of South LA

For a port that spans 54 miles of the Mississippi River, ranks number one in total domestic trade, and strictly speaking feeds the world—moving 60 percent of the world’s grain—it’s important to have a steady hand at the helm. 

High-ranking executives set the pace in a growing and bustling business like the maritime trade and act as an example and inspiration for those looking to join the industry. In December 2022, the Port of South Louisiana, found their new Chief Administrative Officer Chambrel Riley-Williams. 

With degrees in accounting from both Delgado and the University of New Orleans, Riley-Williams has worked in the Port Maritime Industry for twelve years with a focus on finance and administration. She is also a certified port executive and certified public accountant. 

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The shipping industry in which Riley-Williams steps into her new executive role remains a male-dominated sector. Less than 30% of on-shore maritime-related positions worldwide are held by women, with averages in America trending close to 20%. And according to data published by the Spinnaker’s Maritime HR Association, only 5% of the maritime leadership roles are held by women. 

And Riley-Williams is proud to be one of the women in that growing percentage. In recent years, the number of women working in the maritime industry has grown and will likely continue to grow with more women like Riley-Williams setting an example for women looking to join the industry and move into leadership positions. 

Riley-Williams said it’s “truly a blessing” to be a woman and person of color in a leadership position such as this. She is proud and honored to a part of such a unique, powerful, and inspiring culture. 

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“With faith, dedication and determination all things are possible,” Riley-Williams said.

Riley-Williams began her career at Plaquemines Port with a focus on finance and policies. Initially filling the role of senior accountant and office supervisor, where she was responsible for all aspects of port office operations and assistant to the port manager in operating decisions, she eventually moved into the position of director of finance in 2020. 

While at Plaquemines Port, she was encouraged to develop her skills in administration as she simultaneously pursued her a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Motivated to explore more opportunities in the maritime industry, she pursued a position at the Port of South Louisiana. In her new role, Riley-Williams seeks to accomplish successful innovation in all departments by bringing a strong financial outlook on all current and future projects.

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The new Chief Administrative Officer has a clear vision of what she wants to do in her new position. “The Port has done an excellent job with securing state and federal funding for various projects, and I will make it a priority to ensure that continues,” she said. 

Riley-Williams plans to improve some of the Port’s administrative systems and procedures to increase the centralization within the departments while concentrating on management, collaboration, and decision-making.

Riley-Williams credits her family as her source of strength as she’s climbed the leadership ranks in the maritime industry over the past decade. She said they’ve played a huge role in her career achievements from her college education to her certifications, as well as their supportive role on just getting through the average workday. “Without them, no milestones would be met,” she said. 

The Port of South Louisiana is thrilled to welcome Chambrel Riley-Williams as she achieves her next maritime milestone as their new Chief Administrative Officer.  

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