Jennifer Davis – Investing in Student Success

The Mentorship Program is a core component of the Master of Science in Information Systems curriculum. The program connects MSIS students with Seattle-based IT leaders through a unique one-to-one professional relationship that can bridge the gap between academic concepts and real world practices. 

Jennifer Davis, IT Director, Sales & Marketing and Factory and Automation at Boeing, is well connected within the MSIS community, having mentored MSIS students over the past six years.

Throughout a twenty eight-year career at Boeing, Davis climbed through the ranks to her current title, and her array of experiences allow her to effectively guide students through the areas of opportunity in tech.

Jennifer understands the impact of successful mentorship, and she invests in the success of the mentee. For the past few years, she’s held regular breakfast meetings as early as 6 a.m. and the occasional happy hour. Students have dubbed this her breakfast club. She laughs at this not seeing it as formal. “It’s good to meet people outside of the workplace, and it’s nice to share a meal. It also takes off the pressure of coming to an executive’s office.”

Davis is an effective mentor in part because, as she describes herself, she is someone who enjoys working with people and helping them. She manages large teams across the country and has to juggle her schedule across multiple time zones, but is always dedicated to finding time to work with her mentees.

She has worked with international students, Seattle and UW natives, and with women starting out in their careers.

All of the MSIS students come into the program with enthusiasm and desire to learn how IT and tech combine into a business environment.

Jennifer is the center of positive impact for our students. She lets students set the agenda of learnings and outcomes they want to achieve, to create a high-impact relationship.

When asked where and how she developed her management and leadership skills, she’s quick to credit mentors at Boeing. Because she’s worked in different parts of the company for so many years, and under different managers, she’s emulated styles and ideas she’s liked.

Her candid style and honesty is a guidepost to mentees. One of the most important pieces of advice she gives is that it’s okay to FAIL (First Attempt In Learning), as long as you learn from it. Also, it’s okay to start with a job that may not be a perfect fit and to see it as a step towards the next job or jobs. She uses her own experiences and career path at Boeing to illustrate how a career can evolve, and shares secrets such as the power of networking both internally where you work, and outside of the organization.

“People think I know a lot, but I just know a lot of people to rely on”.

For MSIS students, Davis is knowledgeable about business, time management, careers, and how to look at opportunities. She’s happy to help develop resumes that meet job requirements and even evaluate positions. She’ll also share opportunities within Careers@Boeing if she sees a mentee would be a good fit. “Technology is everywhere, and Seattle has the need for lots of different technical people.”

Davis’ management style and experience is now part of the MSIS program for many students. A hallmark of the MSIS degree is the pairing of students with Seattle’s top business and tech executives to mentor them through the 12-month program.

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