Michellene Davis, Esq.
Office of the Governor State of New Jersey Jon S. Corzine Trenton, N.J. Age: 37
Growing up in New Jersey’s Camden City, Michellene Davis experienced first hand “the struggle and stigma associated with being from one of the country’s poorest and most dangerous cities.” After receiving a juris doctorate from Seton Hall University of Law, Davis served as an assistant deputy public defender for five years before becoming senior policy adviser in the Department of Health and Senior Services. She subsequently became the youngest director of a state Lottery and New Jersey’s first African-American woman state treasurer.
Now chief policy counsel to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, Davis again is the state’s first African-American in that role. As part of her responsibilities, she collaborates with state departments and agencies on a variety of issues, including urban, health care, educational and anticrime initiatives. She is in a position, at last, to bring attention to key issues that affect people across the state.
Often the youngest person to serve in leadership capacities, Davis says her challenges “have most often been created by others as determined by their limited view of the world.” She is humble about her successes, insisting that she has “enjoyed the favor of God in my life” and that her parents, the Reverends Duval and Ruby Davis, “instilled in me an indomitable will.”
“Any opportunity to lead or manage others is about the lesson of serving them and the consumer, client or constituent,” Davis says. At 50, she expects to be “continuing to impact the decisions that our world leaders render.”
Quote: "Your naysayers do not design your destiny."
Favorite book/author: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
What actress should play you in a movie: Sanaa Lathan
Last movie: The Kite Runner
Favorite sports team: Utah Jazz
Number of countries visited: Five
Favorite charity: Assist by Knight Foundation
Xbox or PlayStation: Wii