Alumni Spotlight: Devon L. Davis (Bose Public Affairs Group)

Name: Devon L. Davis

Organization: Bose Public Affairs Group

Position: Assistant Vice President / Lobbyist

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Alma Mater: Masters: O’Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs (MPA)

Undergraduate: Florida A&M University ( Political Science)

  • Can you tell our students a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?

I’m a registered lobbyist, in which it is my job to represent clients before the Indiana General Assembly. Lobbying is organizations attempting to influence legislation/laws for the betterment of business. It happens at the local, state and federal levels. I pay close attention to the legislation that’s introduced and track anything relating to my respective clients’ interests, I’ve been a registered lobbyist now for about 4 years.  As a lobbyist I help lawmakers analyze the merits of an idea before it makes its way into the process and can sometimes forecast the success or failure of a bill based on legislation or circumstances that have come before it.

  • What did your professional journey look like from college to your position today? 

My road was one of many turns, but I understood what needed to be done in order for me to get to where I was going. I started off doing unpaid political internships and getting my foot in the door which directly allowed me to rub shoulders with elected officials and those on the inside of the political process. While in undergrad I got involved in student government where my understanding of how advocacy is a critical role of everyday life polished me even more. Once I determined I wanted to be in this field for the long haul I got to work upon graduating, working for the Indiana House of Representatives and then taking on other political jobs to give me the credibility to understanding the legislative process.

  • What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow your career path? 

I would tell anyone who wants to get involved in governmental affairs to get involved in the community, meet the elected officials, and build relationships. The main goal of interest groups and lobbyists is to acquire access stakeholders to influence policy. Part of what we do appears to be a function of whom we know and have access to, rather than what we know, in which is somewhat true. There’s no real way to wake up and say I want to be a lobbyist without being involved to some extent in political roles or advocacy positions. It’s fun and rewarding work in the sense of understanding the process and seeing it play out. I think the biggest advice I would give anyone looking to get into this line of work is have a big network, having strong relationships also meaning being able to bring the right stakeholders to the table to negotiate, discuss, inform and raise awareness of unforeseen impacts or possible obstacles, allowing the opportunity to create compromises that benefit the state and its businesses in the long term.

  • What drives you to be successful in your job every day?

I’m the oldest of 7, I’ve got my siblings looking up to me, I’ve got people depending on me. Growing up my parents stressed education and keeping my head on straight, the way I was raised I owe them nothing less than to achieve and be as successful as possible. Seeing my mom and dad smile as a direct correlation of something I’ve accomplished drives me to keep going. I often play this Meek Mill lyric before my day starts:

“Remember, nobody never believed in us / When they see us now, they can’t believe it’s us, no” -Meek Mill, Oodles 0’ Noodles

  • New professionals are often told to “pay their dues,” what is your advice for a successful first year in the workforce?

The biggest cheat code for me was getting a mentor that had already accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and becoming a sponge. It’s essential to “pay your dues” but that also comes with believing in yourself. Paying your dues to me means working hard early in order to gain the necessary qualifications and experience, in order to earn rights or recognition or respect of peers.

  • Favorite networking technique or strategy?

My golden go to has to be a coffee meeting. Easier than a lunch meeting and less pressure than a full-fledged event, networking coffee dates are low pressure and potentially high ROI.

By Kennedy Bland
Kennedy Bland Peer Educator