Akeem Davis: How networking led to the intersection of entrepreneurship, volunteerism

Akeem Davis is passionate about serving others. As an entrepreneur, he knew that building a strong network would be the backbone that supported his mission.

Akeem Davis stands in the courtyard outside the Blackwell Tower at Huntsville Hospital.

Davis helps vulnerable populations through Huntsville Hospital and other community organizations.

As the founder and director of the Transitional Care Coach Program, a startup created to bridge the gap between high-risk patients and the wellness resources they need, Davis set out to network on behalf of his new business and those he helped. Little did he know that attending a Community Connections networking session at his local library in 2019 would lead to great volunteer opportunities that also broadened his horizons.

“I have a family, I own property and I pay taxes, so of course I want to have the best police department possible to protect my family.” —Davis

Davis met with Huntsville City Council member Jennie Robinson at that meeting, and his attendance soon became consistent. Robinson invited him to be on the community relations board. Recognizing that the nature of his work was a perfect fit, he was then nominated to serve on the Madison County Human Resources Board.

“I have dealt with that vulnerable population before [through Transitional Care Coach Program], so when she asked me to help, I said, ‘Of course I would,’” Davis said. “It was right up my alley.”

Overcoming challenges

Through his work with the Huntsville Police Department’s (HPD) Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), he eventually connected with Councilwoman Frances Akridge, who asked Davis to serve on the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC).

“This could really lead to something impactful because I have a different perspective and I want to help bridge that gap,” he said.

Part of his success as an entrepreneur was partly a result of his willingness to face challenges, but this requirement gave Davis pause.

“I had run-ins with the law in my younger days,” he recalled. “But I had to remember that my life is completely different now.”

Davis reminded himself that he was no longer a teenager making questionable decisions, but married with three children and a successful business owner.

“I was hesitant about it at first,” Davis said. “Then when Frances asked me again, I thought to myself, ‘You know, this could really lead to something impactful because I have a different perspective to bring, and I want to help bridge that gap.'”

He wanted to be a positive part of the community’s relationship with HPD while learning more about police policies and procedures.

“I have a family, I own property and I pay taxes, so of course I want to have the best police department possible to protect my family,” Davis said.

New perspectives

Davis believes that the qualities that make him a successful entrepreneur also make him useful as a volunteer, especially the openness, creativity and innovation that can sometimes shake up the status quo.

“Sometimes it takes one person to say, ‘Hey, maybe we should try this instead,’ to motivate other people to come forward with their ideas,” he said.

Davis credits his time with the HPCAC as a valuable learning resource, and is very enthusiastic about the dialogues he has had with police officers through his involvement on the board. He has considered encouraging more black people to attend HPCAC meetings, but believes the participation of other demographics is even more important.

“I would love to see Black and Latina women join [the HPCAC]Davis said. “They are a big part of our community and it would be great to see them represented on our board.”

Kudos to the volunteerism

Akeem Davis in a blue shirt with white stripes.

Davis is an avid volunteer on the HPCAC and MCDHR boards.

Davis said people shouldn’t equate volunteering with unpaid sacrifice, but instead focus on the relationships that develop from stepping out of your comfort zone with like-minded people.

“If you won’t do it, who will?” —Davis

“Volunteering allows me to be a positive part of the community,” he said. “When I was 19, that wasn’t the case. But now I can look back on my personal growth, and volunteering in my community gives me confirmation that I’m doing the right thing and that I’m on the right path.”

When asked what advice he would give to anyone considering volunteering in Huntsville, Davis has a simple ethos.

“I would ask, ‘If you’re not going to do it, who will?'” he said. “If you see a problem or have a solution to that problem… what if you’re the only person who has a solution? What happens if you don’t speak up? Things would never change. If you have a conviction in your heart, it is your duty to follow it.”

Interested in volunteering? Visit the City of Huntsville Boards and Commissions page and click here to submit an interest form.

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