Kiko Davis is the only Black female bank owner in the United States. Davis is the trustee of Donald Davis Living Trust, the majority stockholder of the 10th largest Black bank in the U.S., First Independence Bank. And as such, she is making history.
In an interview with Rolling Out, she explained why Black female leadership is not only important but also effective.
“We have an innate warrior spirit,” she said. “We possess a level of empathy for people in general with a higher level of sensitivity towards women and minorities. Often times, it’s a skill set that unfortunately some men and non-minorities do not possess. They simply are socialized differently. I believe in order to lead people effectively you must be able to understand them, or at least want to.”
In 2018, Davis was named one of Ebony’s Power 100 honorees for her role as well as her philanthropic efforts as the founder and president of the Don Davis Legacy Foundation. In addition to empathy, Davis cited courage as a personal superpower that allows her to overcome professional hurdles.
“Courage is my superpower. I have the ability to take fear and use it as a tool to conquer adversity and challenges, no matter how insurmountable they may seem. The more substantial the obstacle, the stronger I become.”
While discussing the power Black women wield in positions of power, Davis points to Shirley Chisholm—the first Black congresswoman and the first major-party Black candidate to run for president in 1972—as an inspiration for “being fearless.”
When asked who she would choose to be a mentor, she answered with Sheila Johnson, the co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and the first African American woman to attain a net worth of at least $1 billion.
“Why? Simply put, for me, she exemplifies the perfect example of excellence, beauty, power and grace, all traits I aspire to embody,” Davis said. “She’s perfected the pathway to longevity. I would certainly like to follow her path.”
While Davis looks to follow in Johnson’s path, she leaves lessons she’s learned for younger Black women.
“Taking risks is a necessary step to success. Without risk, there can be no reward. Mistakes? Go ahead and make them. Your mistakes will bring invaluable knowledge that will ultimately become your strategy for winning.”