Jill Williams

posted in: Graduate Profiles

Mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, educator, office manager, gym bunny and volunteer: and now, Tamaki Makaurau woman Jill Williams (Ngati Huarere ki Hauraki me Ngati Porou), can add celebrant to the list of roles in her busy, busy life. Undertaking training was important for Jill, whose experience with adult learners put her in a good place to assess what was valuable and necessary.

“The Celebrant School trainers are kind, generous, patient and most importantly, knowledgeable through real life experience. The learning is fun, with the modules loaded with relevant, thought-provoking information and activities. Sometimes the personal comfort zone is tested but this only helps to develop professional presentation skills.” As well as this, Jill found that she was able to create genuine friendships at the school, and laughter and stories were accompanied by tears and sensitivity.

Collegial support was balanced by practical skills and knowledge offered by the teaching team. She learnt how to write a ceremony (the beginning, middle and end), and “how to honour clients through empathy and intentional listening, ensuring their ceremony is authentic and radiant.” Jill adds that she also discovered the complexities of co-ordinating the bridal party, timing, music, sound, photographer, venue, weather situations, legal documentation, and of course the value of being a counsellor and hanky holder on the day!

Although Jill was originally interested in becoming a celebrant so she could marry her daughter, after completing the Certificate of Celebrant Studies in 2018, she realised there was much, much more to being a celebrant than just weddings. Even though Jill has a Certificate, is a member of CANZ and a registered celebrant, she’s keen to complete the Diploma, and recently did the funeral module. “I want to support whanau in grief, gently and lovingly,” she says – and we here at The Celebrant School know that’s exactly what this incredible woman will do.

Kia kaha, Jill.