Community Connection: Beth Davis
beth Davis prides herself on being a connector. She shines at networking events and has a knack for matching contacts that mutually benefit.
“I love talking with people, businesses, organizations and figuring out how I can connect them and make an idea bigger and better,” she says. “I have spent my whole career building my resources within the credit union and outside in the community in hopes that by doing so, something wonderful and creative will happen.”
Davis is vice president of business development at Community First Credit Union. She shares her experiences and passion for giving back.
COMING TO COMMUNITY FIRST
Right out of college, Davis worked for a financial company in Illinois. She reveals this job taught her about sales and value-added customer service as well as how to create a collaborative marketing sales plan to call on businesses for financing.
In 1992, Davis and her husband, John, moved their three children to Appleton. She accepted a job with Community First Credit Union as assistant vice president of Consumer Lending. In 2004, she left to become a private banker. Seven years later, she came back to Community First Credit Union to work in business development.
“My heart was always with the credit union and it seemed like a perfect fit once again,” adds Davis.
While it can be hard to describe the role of business development, Davis explains it’s her responsibility to positively affect every person she sees throughout the day. “My role aligns with my personality and who I am,” she adds.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Just like many professionals, Davis doesn’t have a typical day. She may start the day having coffee with a member, prospect, someone from the Chamber or a friend that needs business advice. On the day we met, her afternoon included a few conference calls for her nonprofit involvement, a lunch meeting and several hours of account management work.
She is usually the first point of contact when members are inquiring about ACH/Direct Deposits, Health Savings accounts and merchant services.
Whenever Davis meets with someone, she tries to leave them with a takeaway. “My goal is to give something to someone else,” she adds.
While she thrives on making connections, Davis stays away from social media. She avoids Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn.
“I try to shut off when I’m at home because I need to be ‘on’ most of my day,” she says.
GETTING INVOLVED AND GIVING BACK
Davis has been active in the Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley for over 10 years. She served as president and is still an active board member as well as chair of the development committee.
When asked why the Women’s Fund is so important to her, Davis reveals she was raised by a single mother and the oldest of four.
“I saw my mom take care of us and do what needed to be done to make sure we not only fit in, but were also successful contributors to society,” says Davis. “The Women’s Fund is important to me because I can help prop up the next generation that needs it, whether it’s through education, transportation or childcare and give them hope.”
Davis believes one of her most significant contributions to the organization was helping to spearhead a capital campaign, along with the executive director, to raise $750,000 to reach $2 million in the endowment. This accomplishment allowed the Women’s Fund to reach its 20th anniversary goal of granting more than $1 million.
“I feel like I can make the greatest impact giving money, time and talent to this organization because the grants committee does such a good job going through the grant requests that pertain to women and girls,” says Davis.
Davis is president of the UW-Fox Valley Foundation Board and will be entering her second year of a three-year term this fall. “In the fall, the board of the Foundation asked if I would accept the vice president position with a fast track to president and I accepted,” adds Davis.
She explains it’s been a wonderful experience to learn about educational boards and the impact they can have on the region.
“Helping create the Emeritus category to recognize past board members and previous deans of the university was especially satisfying, as well as bringing on new board members that are responsible for moving the Foundation forward in the time where education is trying to do more with less,” she adds.
Community First Credit Union has a long history with the UW-Fox Valley Foundation and an E.A.T.S. fundraiser that raises money for scholarships.
“The cool thing about my community involvement is it aligns perfectly with what our mission and values are at the Credit Union. It has always been important to me to have that kind of alignment in my work, family and community life,” says Davis.
A GROWING FAMILY
Davis married her high school sweetheart in 1979. The two have three grown children. Daughter Briana married her love from Brooklyn last year and the couple lives in Queens. Daughter Meaghan married her high school sweetheart after college graduation and the two live in California. Both girls are expecting and will have babies this winter.
“We’ll have two new grandbabies a couple of months apart but on opposite sides of the country,” says Davis. Their son Patrick lives in the Fox Valley. Patrick, like many of his peers, is still searching for his passion and how he’s going to get there.
“We raised all three to be independent, work hard, do something they love and we’ll support them in any way we can,” adds Davis. As empty nesters, the couple likes to spend time out on their boat or entertaining friends at home. “We love visiting our friends’ cottage, taking vacations
with the whole family and going out to dinner— we love Carmella’s and Zacatecas to mention a few,” she adds.
When Davis looks ahead to the next five or 10 years, she explains it will be a whole new experience being grandparents. Her mother and mother-in-law still enjoy good health, so family will continue to be her focus. “Keeping family close, even though they live far away, is important to us,” adds Davis.
The 61-year-old is also looking forward to moving to Community First Credit Union’s new home office. Whatever the future holds, Davis expects she’ll continue to build her network and make connections while remaining actively involved in the community. w