PDG Advisor Shelley Davis is a senior executive leader in public policy and external affairs who boasts a wealth of national and international experience in politics, labor unions, public policy development, strategic planning and high-level negotiations.
His foray into public service, dating back now almost two decades, was shaped by several childhood experiences – namely the activism of his mother, who was a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) which today is a program of AmeriCorps. “I recall tagging along with my mother as she would assist undocumented Hispanic families complete their citizenship applications as well as public assistance paperwork to help their families with food, shelter and clothing,” Davis recounts. “She was a catalyst for change, living and working alongside our neighbors to help meet the community’s most pressing challenges.”
No doubt the young Davis was watching and learning because, as a 17-year-old, he helped to form an organization called “Teens for Tomorrow” that would mobilize the youth in his community for positive change. With the seeds of service firmly planted, his political career took root when he won a special election at the age of 26 to fill the seat of his mentor, the incumbent who unexpectedly passed away, on the City Council of his native Georgetown, Texas.
“To represent the very community which I grew up was and still remains one of the greatest achievements of my life; having my grandmother, mother, brother and sister to vote for me. And to have my pastor who baptized me subsequently ask me to join the leadership of the church as a trustee was exciting – almost as thrilling being elected!”
Davis has since held posts as Executive Director of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, worked for numerous presidential campaigns as state and regional director of African American outreach, and served as Chief of Staff for former Texas State Senator (currently County Commissioner) Rodney Ellis of Houston.
For a decade he worked as senior advisor to Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. “Working for Rev. Jackson is by far one of the most educational, in-depth and culturally enlightening opportunities of my career,” states Davis. “I experienced extensive travel from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom, Canada to Argentina, and to over 15 countries in the continent of Africa where I met Kings, Queens, Presidents and many Heads of State.”
His time with Rev. Jackson was also instrumental in other ways – namely, preparing him for service to two members of the U.S. Congress. Davis first was appointed in December 2006 as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and in August 2010, he was appointed to serve as Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY).
“Had it not been for the training, leadership, guidance and work ethic to which Rev. Jackson exposed me for the past 20+ years, I would not have been able to literally walk onto Capitol Hill as a Chief of Staff and to serve two members of Congress,” Davis says.
His career has also afforded him expansive knowledge of national and international political issues includes the Middle East, labor, human rights, education, relief crises (from Hurricane Katrina to Darfur), immigration, global warming and strategic planning for corporate and private businesses, organizations and campaigns.
Today, as a PDG Advisor, Davis leverages these unique experiences and knowledge-base to benefit the consulting firm and the clients it serves.
“My insight and perspective are geared to advocate for public policy through education, lobbying, or political pressure which determines what legislation is needed to address problems and the funding required to provide services or conduct research,” Davis shares. “At the end of the day, I strongly believe that public policy priorities are influenced by advocacy and research data to educate members of Congress or the general public, thereby improving the public policy process.”
Shelley Davis can be found on Facebook @shelleydavis or Instagram @shelleypdavis.