This article was originally published on VoyageMIA.com.
Click here to view the original article
Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Kaye Davis.
Laurie Kaye, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Michigan but moved to Miami in 1980 right after college to be a part of Burdines Executive Training Program after receiving my degree from the University of Florida in the School of Business. I have lived in Miami Beach since 1992 and am married to Boies Schiller & Flexner lawyer, Steve Davis. I have one incredible daughter, Catherine, who I’m full of pride to share is in year one of her two years + commitment to Peace Corps and two amazing step-daughters Diane and Michelle. I’ve witnessed incredible changes in Miami and can’t imagine living anywhere else with such a such a wealth of opportunities and a diverse population.
I have over twenty-five years of business management experience in a broad spectrum of industries, as well as extensive leadership participation in civic and community organizations and in my church. Some of my professional career highlights include managing a mentor program for a non-profit with a budget of over seven million dollars, a 90 office executive suite business and a leasing program for a multi-million dollar mall renovation. I am proudest of my work with non-profits both as staff and as a volunteer and it was my life’s desire to transition from the for profit world to the not-for-profit.
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with two of our under-served high schools in Miami creating and running a school to work mentoring program through funding from the Department of Education and then I was selected in May 2013 to be the executive director of The Commonwealth Institute South Florida (TCI). TCI is a network of business and successful women. We provide leadership development, high-level networking and mentoring through our content rich events and programming. I have the great fortune to work with hundreds of amazing women in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and be a part of a vision to unleash the potential of women leaders to drive successful businesses and inspire all those around them. It’s awe inspiring to see what happens when women come together supporting one another. I believe that the more successful the leader – the more successful her organization, her family, her employees and the communities that they work and live in.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never a smooth road and life doesn’t have a straight path. I’ve struggled with health issues several different times in my life and I had to temporarily leave college when my family lost everything. I had a female boss that told me I was too devoted to my child and it wasn’t working out for me to work a four-day work week. At different times in my life, I tried to make the jump from working at for-profits to non-profits. I never let these adversities hold me back and just got up, dusted myself and persevered. I stepped out of the workforce for a short time to care for my child and it is difficult to step back in. I made it a point to keep my skills relevant and take on voluntee
leadership roles. Sheryl Sandberg says it best, “careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder”.
There are so many things I could share with you young women just starting the journey but most importantly, love what you do! It’s ok if the work that pays your bills is not it. You can identify many other volunteer opportunities or hobbies that fill you up. You can find your passion in many ways!
And one more thing, listen to your mother.
Please tell us about The Commonwealth Institute South Florida.
The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) is a non-profit organization devoted to advancing businesswomen in leadership positions in Massachusetts and South Florida. Our membership includes CEOs, senior corporate executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and solo professionals who are committed to building successful businesses, organizations, and careers. We come from a range of industries and from a variety of backgrounds. We run large companies, we lead small companies, we manage nonprofits, we work as sole proprietors. We are a community of women offering a collaborative brain trust for fellow members and a platform for each of us to achieve our goals.
I oversee and coordinate the development and, the administrative management of TCI South Florida and daily get to interact with our incredible women in South Florida. I play the lead role in managing the relationship with our co-presidents and advisory board, developing and implementing the strategic direction of the organization and am responsible for the visibility and growth of our organization. I do all this with a staff of one, a great Board and all the volunteers I can possibly round up.
I’ve grown the organization from just under 100 when I started to well over 200 with a goal in the next year to move us to a membership of 300 +. We’ve been the “best-kept secret” and have made great progress in raising awareness of what we do and how we help women. I am especially proud of the programming that I’ve created and our great content is what differentiates us from other organizations. Everything that we do in bringing women together revolves around not just networking but on peer-mentoring and on our content-rich events and programming. We are unlike industry-specific organizations and I believe that when we bring together and share experiences from a diverse group of women and industries that we have far more ah-ha moments and learning opportunities.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I strongly believe leaders read whether it’s business books or other great works of non-fiction. I created a monthly program modeled after my own personal book club, Big Ideas Beyond the Book. It’s not a book review, but a discussion on the topic. We just finished up with Daniel Pink’s “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” and are starting Kim Scott’s “Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity”.
I also developed “Just Ask TCI” with a monthly topic where anyone in our community can join in our virtual program submitting questions. The beauty is that I get to learn along with everyone else.
I love to listen to BBC for world news and to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world and get google alerts once daily for everything related to women in business.
I am on the quest to find the perfect productivity app but for the time being, am using Outlook which seems to work best for me. I use Outlook to keep my family and social life organized as well. I still have the old fashioned handwritten journal like “to-do” list for the bigger weekly projects and goals.
- TCI Membership- $395/year
- TCI Strategies for Success; 4 Session Development Program for Emerging Leaders- $2,500 includes TCI 1 year membership
- TCI Emerging Leaders Forum for Strategies for Success Graduates- $995/year
- TCI Executive Forum; Master Minds- $1950/year